A long time has passed since the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team has endured the kind of all-around struggles it has gone through early in the 2017 season.
All of it was symbolized by what happened last Tuesday night in the Lakers’ home opener. Christian Brothers Academy, a team the Lakers had tormented for years during its championship runs, arrived and controlled all phases of the game, beating Cazenovia 16-2.
Proving why it got the no. 5 ranking in the first state Class D poll of the season, CBA struck a decisive blow in the first quarter, racing out to a 6-1 lead. Even when the pace slowed down, the Brothers cranked up its defense, blanking Cazenovia the rest of the half and putting together another 6-1 push in the third period.
Only Thomas Bragg and Alex Nowak were able to score goals, with Cole Basic getting an assist. R.J. Smith had nine saves, but he and his fellow Lakers defenders could not contain the likes of Ben McCreary, who had six goals and one assist, and Alex Calkins, who had four goals and four assists.
Cazenovia looked to turn around Thursday against another struggling power, LaFayette, but even here the Lakers could not get the league win it needed, stopped at the wire in a 7-6 defeat to the Lancers.
In one quarter against LaFayette, Cazenovia eclipsed its CBA output, racing to a 3-1 lead. Again, though, the attack went quiet and the Lancers took full advantage, inching in front, 4-3, by the break.
The second half mirrored the first, with the Lakers starting strong and eventually reclaiming a slim lead at 6-5, only to find itself unable to add to that margin. Instead, LaFayette tied it, and then reclaimed the lead with just over a minute to play.
With a chance to force overtime, Cazenovia instead turned the ball over, and the Lancers ran out the clock, having blanked the Lakers in the fourth quarter after Will Khalil and Will Shephard each scored twice, with Bragg and Chris Becker adding single goals. Nowak, John Williams and Jon Maracek had one assist apiece.
Chittenango would take on Skaneateles last Tuesday night at Hyatt Stadium and fall to those other Lakers 16-4, unable to get on the board until the second half, by which point it already trailed 11-0.
Seth Spurgeon had two of those four second-half goals, with the others going to Grant Czarnecki and Trevor Butler. Bill Demand and Eddie Houle picked up assists as Carson Maciag had eight saves. Reggie Buell led Skaneateles with five goals and one assist, while teammate Pat Hackler had four goals and four assists.
Then Chittenango had to take its own shot at CBA on Thursday night. At least the Bears scored more than Cazenovia did against the Brothers in an 18-7 defeat, though it still couldn’t contain the likes of Calkins, who led the visitors with five goals and three assists as McCreary added three goals and one assist.
Goalie Carson Maciag combined with Corey Fredericks as the pair made 18 saves between them. Czarnecki was the only Bears player to score twice, adding an assist as Spurgeon, Demand, Ryan Pitt, Karl Farber and Cooper Young also netted goals. Farber and Demand had one assist apiece.