Camillus Cazenovia head coach Adam Reynolds called it magical. A magical feat for a Lakers boys soccer team that had already won its first league title in 27 years.
After falling behind to Skaneateles 1-0 in the 51st minute of Thursday night’s Section III Class B semifinal at West Genesee High School, senior captain Conor Race scored three goals in a span of just 10 minutes.
Medium-length blonde hair flowing over a thin elastic headband, the speedy forward took over the game just as the rain returned midway through the second half, almost single-handedly propelling Cazenovia to the sectional final.
“At the half we were tied 0-0,” Race said. “We were playing all right, but we knew we had to step it up. We let one in, but we just kept the faith.”
That faith carried the second-seeded Lakers to a 3-1 victory over no. 3 seed Skaneateles, playing in tricky conditions on a slick turf field.
Race headed in a Conner Polsin set piece in the 64th minute, before beating Skaneateles goalkeeper Erik Pola on a chip shot four minutes later and finishing off the trifecta with an easy one from straightaway in the 74th minute.
Reynolds said Race has played the last four or five games of his life, starting when he led Cazenovia to a comeback victory over Marcellus on Oct. 16 with a goal to force overtime late in regulation, and another one to win it.
With the win, the Lakers advance to play unbeaten Westhill, who has beaten Cazenovia by one-goal margins twice this season.
“As well as Skaneateles as was doing I think the best defender on the field was the pressure our guys were putting on themselves,” Reynolds said.
"Everyone was trying to hit that one-in-a-million ball, that amazing pass and we didn’t need to do that. We needed to get four or five passes instead of that one amazing pass and they started doing that.”