May 18, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Braedon Gait was disappointed, for his shot in the waning seconds of Saturday’s Section III Class C boys lacrosse quarterfinal at Alibrandi Stadium was off line, and it looked like Christian Brothers Academy was on its way to overtime with Marcellus.
But that disappointment soon vanished as Jack Zerillo showed up, left of the net, and fired it past Mustangs goalie Jake Lilly with just 1.7 seconds left, giving the Brothers a 14-13 victory.
If it looked familiar to CBA fans, that’s because close to the exact same thing happened when the Brothers met Marcellus on this same turf nine days earlier. Trailing the Mustangs by one in that first meeting on May 8, CBA scored twice late in regulation, and prevailed 9-8.
They were in close to the same spot here, no. 5 seed Marcellus leading no. 4 seed CBA 13-12 and possessing the ball with less than two minutes to play, and the Brothers out of time-outs. All the Mustangs had to do was maintain possession, and it would advance.
Led on the back line by J.T. Romagnoli, CBA forced a turnover and rushed down the field. A series of passes, the last of them by J.R. Zazzara, set up Jack Jeschke, parked in front of the net, who flicked home the tying goal with 53.3 seconds left.
Just as importantly, Drew Brooks won the enusing face-off, giving the Brothers the last possession of regulation. Again, with the Marcellus defenders determined to cut off Cody Radziewicz, the ball went to Gait, who was off target – but Zerillo fought his way to the ball and put home the game-winner.
Thus ended a wild, exciting contest that went through several phases. In the initial phase, both defenses were overwhelmed amid a blazing pace that CBA wanted to set, as it took a 6-3 lead late in the first quarter, only to have Marcellus rally and tie it, 6-6, before the period was done.
Yet once Marcellus grabbed an 8-7 lead early in the second quarter, it slowed things down, using longer possessions to keep the ball away from the Brothers’ formidable group of attackers.
That worked deep into the third quarter, the Mustangs extending its lead to 11-8, but now the Brothers dug in, using goals by Gait and J.R. Zazzara late in that period to make it 11-10, and from that point on it was tense and tight all the way to the end.
CBA’s patience was tested. Gait, with his fourth goal, cut the margin to 12-11 with 6:59 left, only to have Tom McNaney answer 13 seconds later. Somehow, the Brothers’ defense did not allow anything more, and when Zerillo converted with 3:23 to play, the stage was set for the final drama.
The Brothers earned the rematch with Marcellus by rolling past no. 13 seed Tully 17-7 in last Thursday night’s opening round, while Marcellus knocked out no. 12 seed Chittenango 12-4 by pitching a second-half shutout.
Facing Tully was not an easy task. Back on April 20, the Black Knights hung close with CBA all game long before the Brothers prevailed, 15-13, but the playoff rematch would not be as tense.
With Tully bent on stopping CBA’s star players, the Brothers’ supporting cast stepped up in a big way. Four different players – Radziewicz, Zerillo, Gait and Jeschke – had three-goal hat tricks, with Radziewicz and Zerillo each adding three assists.
Andrew Romagnoli and Alex Brunner offered further support, getting two goals apiece, while Zazzara tacked on a goal. Defensively, the Brothers never let any Tully player score more than twice (Nate Doody, Tom Burt and Adrian Nash each had two goals) as Andrew Koscs turned back 13 of the Black Knights’ 20 shots.
With this come-from-behind win, CBA, who beat Tully 17-7 in Thursday’s opening round, advanced to face top seed LaFayette in next Wednesday’s Class C semifinal at Chittenango High School.
The Brothers and Lancers split their two regular-season meetings. This third, and most important, clash decides who goes to Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium Saturday to face Westhill or Cazenovia in the sectional title game.