May 21, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Only by a narrow margin did the Christian Brothers Academy boys lacrosse team miss dropping its last four games of the regular season in the wake of an 11-1 start.
The rescue came last Wednesday night, at Skaneateles, where the Brothers trailed throughout the second half before a furious comeback produced overtime – and led to a 12-11 win over the Lakers.
Those defeats – in order, to Cazenovia, Westhill and Homer – had threatened to undo all the good work CBA had done the previous two months.
Sensing that urgency, the Brothers went after Skaneateles, who lost its own OT decision to Cazenovia the week before. CBA flew through the Skaneateles defenses and took a 6-3 in the first quarter, only to get blanked the rest of the half.
Skaneateles used the Brothers’ drought, plus its own success with face-offs and attacks, to charge into an 8-6 halftime lead, and maintained that margin through most of the second half, too.
Connor O’Hara and Steve Bright, each with two goals and two assists, led a balanced attack where Zach Ross added two goals and one assist. Major and Nate Scuderi both got one goal and one assist as Strods and Trevor Diamond contributed goals, too.
Yet even that wasn’t enough as, just in time, the Brothers rescued the night. Trailing 11-8 in the fourth quarter, roared back to tie it, 11-11, paced by Nick Papayanakos, who finished with four goals and two assists.
And that momentum carried over into the OT period, where Cody Radziewicz, who already had three goals and two assists, gave a well-timed feed to Andrew Romagnoli, who beat Higman for the game-winner.
Shane Murphy, with two goals, and Joe Dalfo, with one goal and one assist, offered the main support to Papayanakos and Radziewicz. Braeden Gait scored, too, as Dom Facciponte was superb in the net, recording 16 saves.
Two nights earlier, CBA lost in overtime to Homer, 14-13. CBA got off to the best start possible, leading 5-0 early in the second period on goals by Radziewicz, Papayanakos, Murphy and Max Luthringer.
Though Papayanakos converted again to make it 6-1 after the Trojans got on the board, Homer roared back within 6-4 by halftime and tied it, 6-6, early in the third period before another surge from the Brothers restored a 10-6 lead.
But that didn’t hold, either, as CBA, leading 11-8 in the fourth quarter, saw Homer get six unanswered goals to move into a 14-11 lead.
Now it was the Brothers’ turn to rally. Murphy and Radziewicz converted 38 seconds apart in the middle portion of the period, and when Mike Vavonese found the net with 2:11 left, it was even, 14-14, where it would stay until overtime.
Twice in the extra period, the Brothers had chances to win it, but Homer goalie Jon Cottrell stuffed them, finishing with 13 saves, one less than Facciponte. Then, 3:21 into the OT period, Bryce Riley flicked a shot past Facciponte to win it.
Radziewicz backed up his three goals with four assists. Murphy, Papayanakos, Dalfo and J.R. Zazzara each found the net twice, while Romagnoli also scored. Riley (two goals, two assists), Casey Cleary and Connor Johnston (three goals, one assist each) led a balanced Homer attack.
CBA, with the no. 3 seed in the Class C playoffs, met no. 14 seed Clinton in Saturday’s opening round at Alibrandi Stadium, and had no trouble with it, beating the Warriors 20-5.
Dominating on the face-offs throughout the first half, the Brothers spent most of the first two periods in Clinton’s end, steadily accumulating a 12-2 margin, and adding to it throughout the second half, too.
Radziewicz worked his way to four goals and four assists, with Dalfo managing two goals and three assists. Papayanakos scored three times, adding an assist as Vavonese earned two goals and two assists. Zazzara, Gait and Alex Laible also had two-goal outings, with Murphy getting one goal and Jack Zerillo picking up two assists.
In Thursday’s Class C quarterfinal, CBA will host no. 6 seed Marcellus, whom it beat twice in tough regular-season contests (one of them going to overtime), looking to advance to Saturday’s semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium against Homer or Skaneateles – sides they are quite familiar with due to recent events.