Much was at stake for the Cazenovia field hockey team in Thursday's game against Cortland -- such as first place in the Onondaga High School League and the team's 54-game win streak against league foes.
Well, the streak lives on, as a fine all-around effort pushed the Lakers past the Purple Tigers 5-0, the team's fourth consecutive shutout.
And it came in the midst of Cazenovia's busiest stretch of the regular season - four games in five days, climaxing with a weekend appearance at the Camden Tournament.
Cortland arrived at the Burton Street Elementary School field with a 5-0 record. And in the early going, even as the Lakers sent waves of attacks at the Purple Tigers' net, goalie Maggie Brown made a series of terrific saves.
But at the 15:48 mark, Cazenovia broke through when, off a penalty corner, Tori Widrick struck the ball past Brown into the right side of the net as Belle Hoagland earned the assist.
Barely two minutes later, it was 2-0, Widrick connecting again on the rebound of Abby Eschen's long shot. And with 5:56 left in the half, Jillian Vogl ended another flurry of shots with her only goal of the afternoon.
In the second half, Eschen and Hoagland would both tack on goals, but a larger story was the way the Lakers' defense responded when under intense heat from Cortland's revitalizled attack.
Led by Molly Hudson, SarahRose Gabor, Ellen Burr and Raeanne Clabeaux, Cazenovia's back line withstood 11 penalty corners that the Purple Tigers received, and Emily Mastropaolo made some late saves, too. Even a penalty stroke by Cortland's Julia Porter hit the post.
As a warm-up for Cortland, the Lakers went to Homer last Tuesday night and unleashed its attack, reaching double digits in an 11-0 romp over the Trojans.
Not letting up at all, Cazenovia sprinted out to a 5-0 lead by halftime, then kept on adding to the lead as seven different players scored before it was done.
Widrick, with three goals, led the way as Vogl and Eschen both produced a pair of goals. Vogl added an assist as EmmaJean Spear picked up a goal and two assists. Burr, MaryKate Conley, and Kara Stalder also converted, with Hoagland and Jenna Raleigh joining Stalder with single assists.