As it neared the tension of the Section III playoffs, the Fayeteville-Manlius and East Syracuse-Minoa field hockey teams both sought – and gained – crucial late-season wins.
For the Hornets, that meant going to Baldwinsville last Thursday afternoon and, with a different style of play, piecing together a 2-0 victory over the Bees.
F-M is accustomed to artificial turf, so competing on grass takes some time to get used to again. Thus, it was little surprise that the Hornets struggled through a scoreless first half, but at least kept it 0-0 thanks to sound defense.
After the break, though, the Hornets took charge. Kayla O’Connor and Gabriela Gorgoni both put in goals, while Kerry O’Connor and Haley Shields earned assists. And F-M’s defense made that lead stick as goalie Julie Hockenberger stopped all eight shots she faced.
Meanwhile, East Syracuse-Minoa, gearing up for another shot at ending Cazenovia’s long OHSL win streak (it lost to the Lakers in overtime on Sept. 19), hosted Cortland last Wednesday night and pieced together a 3-0 shutout of the Purple Tigers.
This was entirely Amy Loder’s show. After a first-half goal put her side up 1-0, Loder connected two more times in the second half, giving her a hat trick, while Melissa Koch took credit for an assist. Overall, ESM took 14 shots to Cortland’s three.
This led to Friday’s game at Weedsport, where ESM could not replicate that magic from two days before, falling to the Warriors 1-0.
Having already beaten Weedsport 2-0 earlier this fall, the Spartans appeared ready to gain control again in the first half of the rematch, but a missed penalty stroke proved costly and kept it 0-0.
Warriors goalie Abby Marsden stopped everything else, too, on her way to six saves, and Weedsport got in front when Gabby LaForce, off a pass from Emma Bergerstock, beat Rachel Aird for the game’s only goal in the second half.
This led to Monday’s trip to Cazenovia, the Spartans attempting to break up the Lakers’ 81-game OHSL win streak, something it could not quite pull off in September when it dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Lakers. Games against Cato-Meridian and Port Byron will follow as F-M closes its regular season by hosting Auburn Wednesday night.