Nothing that the Cazenovia boys soccer team had to deal with in the closing stretch of the 2013 regular season proved easy – not with defending Section III Class B champion Westhill and Skaneateles on the agenda.
But in taking on this pair of formidable foes, the Lakers gave itself the ideal gauntlet of work that it would need before stepping into the sectional tournament later this week.
Westhill, the team that toppled Cazenovia last fall in the sectional finals and then again 2-0 on Sept. 19 at the Sean Googin Sports Complex, would nearly echo that performance again in last Tuesday night’s 3-1 Laker defeat.
At least the Lakers got on the board this time around, though. Westhill matched the September goal-scoring output in the first half alone, only to have Ted Dwyer find the net to keep Cazenovia within range, 2-1, at the half.
Not panicking, the Warriors added an insurance goal early in the second half and maintained that margin the rest of the way, Jake Etoll leading the way with one goal and one assist.
Barak BenYehuda and Tom Kinsella also found the net as the defense protected Chris Burrows, who only had to make four saves all night. In defeat, Lakers goalie Garrett Clabeaux made seven saves.
Now Cazenovia had to turn around and meet a Skaneateles side that beat them 3-2 in overtime five days after the first Westhill meeting.
In the Friday-night rematch at Hyatt Stadium, again the road team would win – and that would benefit Cazenovia, who pulled out a 2-1 decision.
Kevin Porter’s goal in the 24th minute, assisted by Kevin Willard, had Cazenovia in front 1-0, where it would stay the rest of the first half and into the second half, too, before James Motyl tied it for Skaneateles.