Though it has gone through a fair share of ups and downs, the Cazenovia girls lacrosse team is making a return to the Section III Class C playoffs with a chance to spring some surprises against the higher seeds.
The Lakers inched closer to securing a winning record for 2013 by hanging on to beat Westhill 12-11 in a thriller last Tuesday at the Sean Googin Sports Complex.
This game always takes on a larger meaning because Cazenovia’s head coach, Caitlin Byrne, is a Westhill graduate. At least at the start, the Laker players fed off that theme.
Fast and aggressive, Cazenovia intended to wear down the Warriors, and it worked, at least on the offensive end, as the Lakers doubled up Westhill and took a 10-5 halftime lead.
Again, senior Kayla Dorrance put herself behind the net, waited for her teammates to flash open and gave them timely passes that set up goals. All told, she had eight assists, giving her 69 for the season, by far the most in Section III.
Westhill didn’t get too fazed by all this, though, gradually eating away at the Lakers’ margin in the second half, with Nicole Easterly (three goals, one assist) and Maggie Tripodi (two goals, two assists) at the forefront of the rally.
With less than two minutes left, the Warriors cut the Lakers’ margin to one, and had chances to tie it as time wound down, only to have one shot careen off the post, allowing Cazenovia to hang on.
Kristie Kleine, with four goals, and Kelsey Henderson, with three goals, benefited the most from Dorrance’s passes as she also scored twice. Emily Willard, Abbie McEntee and Hailey Lavelle had one goal apiece, with goalies Lauren Devine and Zantha Hourigan combining for 14 saves.
It proved much easier for the Lakers in Thursday night’s game against Chittenango, where it dominated from start to finish in a 15-1 romp over the Bears.