Jun 08, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A high school state championship is special enough. Two of them, in a three-year span, indicates something more, that a program, once it has climbed to the top, has the ability to stay there and thrive even more.
That is the sweet reality for the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team after it rallied to defeat Bronxville 13-11 in Saturday’s state Class C final at St. John Fisher College, near Rochester.
Trailing for most of the afternoon, down by as many as four goals, the Lakers never got the lead for good until the fourth quarter, and its defense, abused in the early going, stood up big when it mattered most.
Both sides had escaped dramatic state semifinals, Cazenovia holding off Penn Yan 8-7 and Bronxville going to overtime to knock off defending champion Shoreham-Wading River 14-13.
In the title game, the Lakers led for a grand total of 82 seconds in the first half, the amount of time between Kyle Brown’s introductory goal 3:44 into the first quarter and the response from the Broncos’ Henry Grass that tied it, 1-1.
Six seconds after Grass scored, Liam Lynch put Bronxville in front, 2-1, and Grass returned to convert again less than 90 seconds later. The Broncos dominated the rest of the opening period as Henry and Jack Grass both scored and Cazenovia stared at a 5-1 deficit.
The seeds of the Lakers’ comeback took root during the second quarter. Ryan Cook converted less than a minute into the period and P.J. Brown also scored before Connor Cannizzaro, kept quiet in the opening stages, got his first goal at the 3:53 mark to cut Bronxville’s margin to 6-4.
When the Broncos stretched its lead back to 8-4 with goals from Henry Grass and Brewster Warble, Cook offered his own quick answer, a goal 11 seconds after Warble’s tally. That got the Lakers within three, 8-5, going to halftime.
By now, the Lakers’ back line of Joe Colligan, Eli Mitchell, Jay Hahn and Mike Nourse had settled down, and it spent the early part of the third period thwarting Bronxville’s attempts to restore its margin, giving Cazenovia ample time to whittle away at the rest of its deficit.
Cook landed his third goal in the first minute of the period, and Cannizzaro cut it to 8-7 midway through. A tense exchange followed, Bronxville twice stretching the margin to two, the Lakers twice responding, and it was Cook scoring both times to give him five for the day.
So the fourth quarter started with Cazenovia still behind, 10-9, but owning all of the momentum, something that only got more pronounced when P.J. Brown found the net less than a minute into the period and the Lakers finally tied it, 10-10.
It only figured that Cannizzaro was in the midst of the game’s decisive sequence, starting when he put in the go-ahead goal with 9:28 left to move Cazenovia in front 11-10.
After a big defensive stop by Colligan, Cannizzaro fed Kyle Brown for a key insurance goal with 5:04 to play and, just nine seconds later, scored again to make it 13-10 when he forced a turnover on the ensuing face-off and ran straight to the net, firing a shot past Bronxville goalie Eric Pass.
Though Jack Grass scored with 2:09 to play, the Lakers made one more defensive stop and ran out the clock, claiming a state champoinship to match the one earned in 2011.