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Boys lax Lakers handle Tully in playoff opener

Willard earns four goals, four assists in 14-4 romp

— If the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team wanted to go all the way, finish a perfect 23-0 campaign and earn its third state Class C championship in four years, it would have to mass the most rigorous examination possible.

Starting with Tuesday’s Section III Class C quarterfinal game against Tully, the Lakers would have to win seven post-season contests in a 19-day span, in venues ranging from its home grass at the Sean Googin Sports Complex to various local stadiums like the Carrier Dome and, finally, Hofstra University on Long Island, where the state finals take place June 7.

All of it got started with that sectional quarterfinal, against no. 9 seed Tully, who had barely squeaked past no. 9 seed General Brown 13-12 in the opening round.

After a modest start which created a small amount of alarm, the Lakers settled down early in the second quarter and took charge, eventually cruising to a 14-4 victory over the Black Knights.

Having not played for more than a week, Cazenovia spent the first quarter working off its rust. It took more than six minutes for Henry Mann to find the net, and it took P.J. Brown’s goal at the end of the first quarter to create a 2-0 margin.

As it turned out, Brown’s goal provided all the momentum and energy Cazenovia needed. Brown, Jake Lewis and Cole Willard all took turns getting goals early in the second quarter, and Willard wasn’t done, adding two more late in the period for a hat trick that helped the Lakers go to the break with a comfortable 8-1 lead.

Tully did play better in the third quarter, but Cazenovia matched the Black Knights’ output to make it 11-3, and pulled further away down the stretch.

Willard had one of his best games of the season, finishing with four goals and dishing out four assists. Mann, aside from his usual domination in the face-off circle, scored three times and added an assist, while Brown had three goals and three assists. Lewis found the net twice as Derek White and Ted Dwyer added single goals.

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