For someone like the Cazenovia field hockey team, blessed with all kinds of skill players, the chance to play on clean, even turf is quite welcome.
Thus, the undefeated, top-seeded Lakers had to rejoice when the scene shifted to Rome Free Academy Stadium for Saturday's Section III Class C semifinal against Canastota.
Sure enough, Cazenovia's skill won out, in a big way, as it overwhelmed the Raiders in a 4-1 decision to advance to this week's Class C title game.
Unlike its home field at Burton Street Elementary School, RFA Stadium has a turf that provides even bounces and a consistent roll. That, combined with proper footing, allows the game to speed up, and for skill players to shine without worrying about lucky (or unlucky) bounces.
Cazenovia used all this well against Canastota, who knocked off Sauquoit Valley 2-0 in the opening round earlier in the week. With Tori Widrick as an offensive anchor, the Lakers seized a 2-0 edge by halftime, then kept on going.
All told, Widrick had a goal and two assists to lead Cazenovia's balanced attack. Abby Eschen, Belle Hoagland and Sarah Race also scored, with Jillian Vogl and Ellen Burr contributing their own assists.
Meanwhile, Canastota used Jessica Patterelli's second-half goal to break up a shutout. Otherwise, Siobhan Bigsby, Raeanne Clabeaux, Cara Stalder and Molly Hudson served ample protection to goalie Emily Masrtropaolo, who had just three saves. Raiders goalie Alison Forth had seven saves.
In the Class C championship game, Cazenovia (15-0-1) will face Mount Markham, who took out Holland Patent 2-1 in the other semifinal. The winner gets Little Falls or Port Byron in a C/D overall championship to see who advances to the state tournament.