Armed with a 40-game win streak and a confidence that seems to grow with each outing, the Cazenovia field hockey is still on the march toward a third consecutive state Class C championship.
To get back into the state tournament, the Lakers had to take care of Tuesday night's Section III Class C/D state qualifier at Rome Free Academy Stadium, where it faced New York Mills.
For a half, it proved a bit scary, but the Lakers’ perseverance paid off as a big second-half surge translated into a 4-0 victory over the Marauders.
To get here, Mills had required Carly Dziekan’s overtime goal to knock off Morrisville-Eaton 1-0 in the sectional Class D final on Nov. 3.
Perhaps with a similar outcome in mind, the Marauders clamped down on the defensive end in the first 30 minutes. Despite a steady stream of attacks that included 11 penalty corners (to Mills’ one), Cazenovia could not convert on any of them.
Overall, Mills goalie Amanda Miciol made 13 saves, but she could not keep everything out. Just three minutes into the second half, a Marauders defender used her body to stop a ball inside the penalty area.
Given a penalty stroke, Jessy Silfer converted it, and Rachel Nourse quickly followed with her own goal to make it 2-0 as the one-sided attack (Cazenovia had 26 shots to Mills’ two) finally paid off.
Silfer and Maggie Carpenter would tack on late goals, doubling the 2-0 margin by which Cazenovia beat Holland Patent in the sectional Class C final.
On Saturday, Cazenovia returns to Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium to face Section IV champion Greene in the Class C state quarterfinal. The winner comes back to C-NS for next weekend's state final four.