May 04, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For the second time in the span of five days, the Cazenovia girls lacrosse team had an opportunity to knock off an opponent ranked in the state Class C top five.
Having already beaten Bishop Ludden (ranked no. 3 at the time) at home on April 24, the Lakers turned its attention to last Monday’s makeup of a game at Marcellus postponed two weeks earlier.
And all went well at the start – but in a matter of minutes, it quickly turned in the Mustangs’ favor, and Cazenovia never fully recovered, taking a 13-8 defeat – though that would be the only time the Lakers would taste defeat during its busiest week of the regular season.
Early in the first half, the two sides were tied, 1-1, when Grace Milmoe and Jessie Matt scored to put the Lakers in front. As it turned out, that was the worst thing the Lakers could have done.
Alerted to the danger, Marcellus started dominating on the draws and sliced through Cazenovia’s defenses, leading to eight consecutive goals, most of them late in the half, and a 9-3 deficit for the visitors at the break.
To its credit, the Lakers fought all the way to the end. Milmoe finished with four goals, but none of her teammates found the net more than once as Sarah Willard, Madison Gabor, Audrey Burbidge and Taylor Eldred had one goal apiece.
On the Mustangs’ side, Grace Hunt, with six assists, served as the catalyst, especially for Grace Nolan, who scored five times, and Ally Burrows, who got four goals.
Cazenovia had to play at Tully 24 hours later, its last scheduled regular-season home game, and in a wild second half managed to do enough to inch past the Black Knights 11-9 and climb back to the .500 mark (5-5), too.
Battling fatigue, wind, rain and cold temperatures all at the same time, Cazenovia didn’t mind the slower tempo in the first half, battling to a 3-1 lead. Then things picked up after the break, both sides trading scoring runs and looking for the other to blink.
Tully’s Zoe Hendricks led both sides with five goals, but the Lakers had more depth and balance, with Burbidge leading the way as she got two goals and four assists. Milmoe scored three times, with Willard and Keeley Race matching Burbidge’s two-goal output. Matt and Eldred had the other goals.
Now the Lakers were set to play its remaining six regular-season games at the Sean Googin Sports Complex, which rarely saw action in April due to schedules and bad weather that forced boys and girls games to move to other venues, including Cazenovia College’s Christakos Field.
But the first game in that homestand, Cazenovia hosting perennial Class A powerhouse Fayetteville-Manlius, had to get moved to Christakos because of the intense mid-week rains.
Once on the clean turf, the Lakers, taking a page out of what Marcellus had done to them, would play a near-perfect second half and, led by Burbidge and a lights-out defensive effort, register a 10-5 victory over the Hornets.
F-M used a well-balanced attack to lead by as much as 4-1 in the first half. Cazenovia closed the gap to 5-3 by halftime, but it gave little indication of what would happen in the last 25 minutes.
Patient on the attack, the Lakers pulled within 5-4 on Willard’s goal. Then Burbidge took over, netting the tying goal with 15:43 left and, moments later, scoring to put Cazenovia ahead for good.
Not stopping there, Burbidge added a fourth and fifth goal in the homestretch, with Dana Kiselica and Clare Costello also scoring to help the Lakers pull away.
While all this was going on, Cazenovia’s defense, anchored by Costello, Samantha Gates, Edie Connor and Olivia McEntee, stifled F-M’s attack, and when the Hornets did take shots, Zantha Hourigan swallowed them up, finishing with nine saves.
Feeding off the momentum from that win over F-M, Cazenovia carried it over to Saturday’s 12-4 conquest of Clinton, also on the Christakos Field turf. A dominant first half saw the Lakers go up 10-2 and then ease up in the latter stages.
Abbie McEntee, with four assists to go with her lone goal, anchored an attack where Burbidge and Willard both scored twice, with Gabor and Taylor Eldred earning two goals apiece. Allison Cooney had the other goal.
All of this left the Lakers at 7-5, with a post-season berth clinched and four more home games to look forward, including Monday’s visit from Westhill and Friday’s clash with state no. 1-ranked Skaneateles.