Field hockey Lakers beat Cortland, stay unbeaten

Extraordinary numbers keep accumulating for the Cazenovia field hockey team as it closed out an undefeated regular season and yet another perfect run through the Onondaga High School League.

In fact, dating back to the start of the 2005 season, the Lakers have won 49 consecutive league games, the latest being Thursday's 2-1 victory over Cortland at Burton Street Elementary School.

With the win, the Lakers improved to 14-0-1 overall and further established its status as a favorite to win a fourth consecutive Section III title when the Class C tournament starts next week.

Of all the OHSL teams in 2009, Cortland had given Cazenovia the most difficult time, as the Lakers had to pull out a rain-soaked 1-0 decision on the Purple Tigers' home turf back on Sept. 11.

Now came the rematch, two days after Cazenovia saw a home date with Oneida cancelled by a flu outbreak that kept many of the Indians' players home sick.

Perhaps distracted by Senior Day festivities, the Lakers started slow, rarely attacking in the game's first 11 minutes. Cortland controlled the flow of play and got a series of penalty corners, only to misfire on them.

It helped that the Lakers' defense, led by Molly Hudson, Kara Stalder, Raeanne Clabeaux and Siobhan Bigsby, formed a protective wall around goalie Emily Mastrapaolo, never letting her get threatened too much.

Meanwhile, Cazenovia's attack only got moving after the 11-minute mark, when head coach Lorraine Scheftic called a time-out and told her players to show some more energy.

Sure enough, midfielders Tori Widrick and Abby Eschen moved the ball into Cortland's end and applied some pressure.

That paid off when, 1:16 before halftime, Widrick took two shots that Cortland goalie Maggie Brown kicked away - but Belle Hoagland pounced on the rebound and put it home.

Up 1-0, Cazenovia withstood Cortland's early push in the second half, then doubled the margin to 2-0 on a gorgeous fast break that Jillian Vogl finished off with a shot from the left side, fed by Widrick.

Cortland battled to the end, as Isabell Wilamaack scored with 55 seconds to play, but it didn't get close enough for a tying shot before time ran out.

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