Nov 07, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A year later, and perhaps wiser for it, the Cazenovia field hockey team fought its way back into the state tournament — this time at the Class C level.
The Lakers did so last Monday afternoon, at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium, where the Section III Class C champions beat Class D champion Morrisville-Eaton 1-0 in the state qualifier.
Due to a slight dip in enrollment, Cazenovia was moved from the Class B ranks, where it won its first-ever sectional title in 2006, to Class C.
As a result, instead of claiming a sectional crown and moving straight into the regional finals, the Lakers had to pass his extra hurdle after beating Little Falls 1-0 in the Class C final at Rome Free Academy Stadium on Nov. 1.
What’s more, the opponent was far from a pushover. Morrisville-Eaton, in fact, had beaten Cazenovia 1-0 in the finals of the Camden Tournament on Sept. 15, an early indicator that the Lakers, with all its talent on hand, still had work to do before it could finish on top again.
Yet head coach Lorraine Scheftic said games like that, plus non-league contests against the likes of Marathon and Liverpool, steeled her team for the post-season.
That point is reinforced by the way Cazenovia played defense in the sectional portion of the playoffs, not allowing a single goal in three outings.
In the rematch with M-E, that Laker defense again came to the forefront. Alissa Easterly, Stacy Marris, Lauren Colligan and Carrie Stevens used their speed and stick skills to continually frustrate Warrior forwards.
M-E head coach Patti Vaughan said that, compared to their first meeting, Cazenovia was a vastly improved unit.
“We were just a step slow this time,” she said. “They (Cazenovia) got to the ball and were better than us today.”
As for the Lakers’ offense, it had a majority of chances, but with Megan Mennig, Kirstie Fanning, Amanda Smith and Bethany Ashcraft playing strong defense, getting a goal would not be easy.
Still, with 5:59 left in the first half, Cazenovia found the board. Lauren Colligan’s free hit from the side skidded across the turf and found Rebecca DeMario, whose quick shot eluded M-E goalie Danica Mosher and found the back of the net.
That single goal held up, ending M-E’s season. Whether Vaughan, who has coached M-E to 390 wins, 12 sectional and 16 league titles, retires after this season remains an open question.
If Vaughan does leave, she does so with a group of 11 seniors, 10 of them starters, including Mosher, Ashcraft, Fanning, Smith, Erin O’Hara, Lanae Maciag, Kirstie Fennig, Rebecca Fennig, Chelsea Verne, and Courtney Edwards.
In the meantime, Cazenovia moved ahead. One benefit of an extra sectional round (plus a later date for all the sectional finals) was that the Lakers would not have to wait more than a week to play its regional playoff game.
Instead, it is a five-day gap between the Lakers and its Class C regional final Saturday against Section II champion Warrensburg at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.