Whenever a reigning state champion starts the following season undefeated, a placement atop the state rankings is inevitable.
So it is for the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team, who found itself sitting in the no. 1 spot when the first state Class C poll came out early this week.
Already a big target due to its state title, the Lakers found itself an even bigger catch, but LaFayette wouldn’t get them in last Thursday’s game at Onondaga Community College as first-rate defense pushed Cazenovia past the Lancers 11-3.
Only up 2-1 through one period, the Lakers began to pull away in the second quarter, shutting out LaFayette and extending its margin to 5-1. In the course of the second half, the Lakers doubled its margin and watched defenders like Mike Nourse and Eli Mitchell shut down whatever the Lancers tried.
By himself, P.J. Brown nearly doubled LaFayete’s output, scoring five times. Cole Willard had a three-goal hat trick, while Henry Mann scored twice and Alex Hunt added a single goal.
Yet even that game was overshadowed by the simultaneous girls game between Cazenovia and LaFayette that took place at Cazenovia College, where the girls Lakers made a spectacular comeback late in regulation, only to see it go to waste in overtime of a 13-12 loss to the Lancers.
The two sides went back and forth in the first half, but with little separation. At one point, Cazenovia inched into a 3-2 lead, but LaFayette caught up and reclaimed the lead.
After the Lakers tied it, 5-5, Lexi Peebles’s goal pushed the Lancers back in front, 6-5, just before the break, a fact attributed as much to the work of goalie Paige Skinner, who had seven saves in the first half.
Cazenovia tied it again, 6-6, early in the second half on Abbie McEntee’s goal, but LaFayette took over from there, putting in five unanswered goals to leave the Lakers staring at an 11-6 deficit.