Canastota's field hockey has been eliminated by Cazenovia each of the last two seasons in the Section III Class C playoffs. Now comes a third opportunity.
The no. 4 seed Raiders beat no. 5 seed Mount Markham, 2-1, in Tuesday's opening round, advancing to face the top seed and four-time defending champion Lakers in Saturday's semifinals at Rome Free Academy Stadium at 11:30 a.m.
Facing wet and slippery conditions on its home field, Canastota officials delayed the start so that a fair amount of drying agent could be applied.
Once it started, though, the Raiders didn't take long to move out in front. Less than 11 minutes into the game, Kissandra Blasier took a nice pass from Elizabeth Schucht and fit a just inside the left post, giving Canastota a 1-0 lead.
From there, the teams traded chances until, with seven minutes left in the first half, Canastota struck again. Laura Palmara passed from the corner, and Sam Haumann sent a shot through several Mount Markham players into the cage.
Deep into the second half, it remained 2-0, and Canastota looked safe. But with three minutes left, the Mustangs drew a penalty corner - and the Raiders had one less defender than usual, something Mount Markham exploited when Emily Dekanek scored, cutting the margin to one.
Now the Mustangs pushed in the homestretch to force overtime, getting two more penalty corners. Both times, though, the Raiders broke it up, Amy Eisenhut making the final clear to Blasier. Mackenzie Kutulba finished with six saves.
Meanwhile, Hamilton, the no. 5 seed in Class D, had a chance to face its main rival, top seed Morrisville-Eaton, in the same Saturday semifinals at RFA - only to lose to no. 4 seed Port Byron 2-0.
Hamilton actually took more shots, but could not get anything past Panthers goalie Kellie Redmond, who finished with nine saves.
Allison DiSanto led Port Byron's winning effort, scoring one goal and assisting on the other, by Brittany Marquez. The Emerald Knights finished with a record of 8-7-1.