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Caz field hockey advances past Canastota

Here was a story the Cazenovia field hockey team was quite used to enjoying - a charge through the playoffs to a Section III Class C championship.

Canastota did not find this enjoyable, though, because in both 2008 and 2009 the Lakers knocked out the Raiders en route to the title.

And so Cazenovia and Canastota collided in the playoffs for the third year in a row, this time in the Class C semifinals Saturday at Rome Free Academy Stadium - where once again the Lakers would prove too much, getting away in the second half to beat the Raiders 4-1.

Perhaps it proved too easy at the start, as the Lakers took less than a minute to grab a 1-0 lead. Tori Widrick took a hard shot that Canastota goalie Mackenzie Kutulba stopped - but Widrick got the rebound and passed it to Belle Hoagland, whose shot beat Kutulba.

From there, Cazenovia eased up the rest of the half, perhaps assuming that more goals would easily follow. But they did not, and when Jessica Patterelli pushed a shot past Emily Mastropaolo with four minutes left in the half, the Raiders pulled even, 1-1.

There it would stay until the second half, where again it didn't take long - 26 seconds, to be precise -for Cazenovia to move in front, Jillian Vogl getting the goal this time.

Now, instead of sitting on that lead, the Lakers pushed, forcing five penalty corners in the next 10 minutes. Though none of them led to goals, it kept the ball in the Raiders' end, and Cazenovia stayed patient.

Finally, with 11 minutes left, Widrick fed Abby Eschen, who beat Kutulba to make it 3-1, and barely a minute later Eschen hit again, this time off Hoagland's feed.

In defeat, Kutulba had 15 saves, with Mastropaolo getting most of her five saves in the first half.

Cazenovia returns to RFA Stadium Wednesday night to face Holland Patent (who beat Ilion 3-0 in the other semifinal) in the Class C title game. Whoever wins plays Morrisville-Eaton or New York Mills in the C-D state qualifier Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse.

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