By Jim Cantor
PITTSFORD — For the most part, Bronxville played two dramatically different 24-minute lacrosse games in the misty rain of western New York Saturday afternoon.
The Broncos won the first one by three goals, slashing and dashing on artificial turf with the brothers Grass — Henry and Jack — and slam-the-door goalkeeping from senior tri-captain Eric Pass.
All was well.
The second game, i.e. the second half, was something else again.
Cazenovia (22-2) of the Syracuse area struck for eight goals in the final 24 minutes, dominated possession and walked away with a 13-11 victory over Bronxville (also 22-2) in the Class C state championship game at St. John Fisher College’s Growney Stadium.
“They rode us very hard the second half,” said six-year Bronxville coach Tim Horgan. “They did a really good job, and we struggled. It’s all about possession, and they had it, for whatever reason.”
Were it not for an exceptional performance in goal by Pass, the final score would have been worse. Of Pass’ 19 saves (Cazenovia’s Trevor Cross handled nine), at least eight were highlight-reel eligible.
“He was exceptional,” Horgan said. “He’s been like that all year. He made five or six point-blank stops.”
But Pass wasn’t having any of that “good game” stuff afterward. The Cornell-bound senior, who said he’ll be going on an academic scholarship and won’t be playing lacrosse there, was disconsolate that things didn’t go well after halftime in his final game.
“This wasn’t my best game,” he said. “No way. I should have made some other saves. But we got complacent. At both ends. No other way to put it. We took some bad shots, got sloppy, didn’t slide quickly on defense.
“Then we got mentally down on that two-goal swing and lost the momentum.”
Late in the third period, with Bronxville leading 9-7, junior attackman Matt Behrens ripped in a shot on the fly past Cross from 14 yards, but it was disallowed when the head of Behrens’ stick flew off and landed behind the goal.
Fourteen seconds later Ryan Cook beat Pass on a neat spin move for his game-leading fifth goal, third of the period, and a 9-8 score.
A half-minute later Henry Grass, a sophomore attackman, took a pass from his older brother stationed behind the net and ripped a shot from 10 yards. Just eight seconds after that Cook ran the ball in from 30 yards, cut to the right, faked behind his back and scored to pull the Lakers within one at 10-9.
Four unanswered goals early in the final quarter doomed the Broncos, bidding to become the first Section 1 team since Yorktown in 2003 to win a state boys lacrosse title.
The Lakers took the lead for good, 11-10, with 9:28 remaining, on Connor Cannizzaro’s third of his four goals.
“We came out fast, but they outhustled us the second half,” said Henry Grass, who, like his brother, scored three goals. “They wanted it more. The second half, we could barely clear the ball, and they’re not the best team we’ve played this year.”
Bronxville senior midfielder Brewster Warble, headed to Brown University, scored three goals but also had to sit for a minute on an unnecessary roughness call just 30 seconds into the second half, and for 30 seconds with four minutes left on an illegal push.
“There were some (questionable) calls,” Pass said.
“They missed a few,” Jack Grass added, “but that wasn’t the difference. In the end we didn’t do what we had to do. We beat ourselves.”