Lakers snatch first-ever field hockey sectional title

In the movies, a sports team traditionally starts out as an underdog, works its way to the top, has a couple of near-misses, and finally ascends to the top with some dramatic last-second goal or overtime finish.

But to the followers of Cazenovia's field hockey team, this wasn't a work of fiction. It really happened, right in front of their eyes.

Denied the Section III Class B championship in both 2004 and '05, the Lakers pushed its way to the title in the most exciting way possible, beating Holland Patent 3-2 in overtime last Wednesday night in the title game at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.

What will always be remembered is Jaimie Purdy's goal in the last second of regulation play, and Brittany Furlong's subsequent game-winner early in OT that ignited a jubilant celebration.

"We all wanted this," said Furlong. "It's been what we've been working for since pre-season, and for the seniors, it was our last chance."

Purdy, one of those seniors, said the victory would silence those who doubted that the Lakers could claim a championship.

"It means that we've made it, and that we've proved that we're an excellent team," she said.

Those doubts were real, though, after the Lakers had suffered Class B final losses to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (in 2004) and to this same Holland Patent team on this same CNS field one year ago.

Head coach Lorraine Scheftic said that, in each of those previous finals, her team just wasn't as ready the way this group, with more than a dozen seniors on the roster, was.

"I'm just happy it happened to these girls," said Scheftic. "This year, we were prepared for it."

That involved plenty of scouting of the 18-0 Golden Knights during the season, on the calculation that Cazenovia and HP would meet again in the finals. Sure enough, it happened.

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