Oct 09, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Though it took two games and 130 intense minutes of action, the Cicero-North Syracuse field hockey team finally got ahead of Fayetteville-Manlius – along with the rest of the CNY Counties League.
With first place in the CNYCL on the line Tuesday night at Bragman Stadium, the Northstars, aided by goals from players who had missed significant time due to injury in the last two seasons, put together a 2-1 victory over the Hornets.
When C-NS and F-M had first met Sept. 19 on the Hornets’ home turf, they played to a 1-1 tie. In the weeks that followed, both sides had separated from the rest of the league contenders and stayed undefeated, adding to the importance of their rematch.
Of course, the game was important beyond its actual result. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, each of the teams wore special jerseys, with F-M donning pink T-shirts and C-NS black shirts with pink ribbons on the front.
The game was dedicated to the memory of Brian Murphy, father of C-NS field hockey alum Brittany Murphy, who passed away from cancer in November 2012. A moment of silence was held in his honor before the opening face-off.
Once play began, both sides found it difficult to establish any sort of attack, with the first penalty corner going to F-M at the 11-minute mark, though it was quickly turned away.
Less than two minutes later, C-NS had a 1-0 lead. Elise Towers, who had missed four games earlier this season due to injury, got open at the point and delivered a shot that soared past Hornets goalie Julie Hockenberger.
Though rarely able to get close to the Northstars’ net, F-M kept probing, and late in the first half created an opportunity where the ball spun near the net before Erika Stube put it past Nicole White for her 12th goal of the season.
As time wound down during the half, C-NS forced a penalty corner. Taking a perfect feed from Megan Caveny, Maggie Kennedy, who had missed time in 2012 with a knee injury, drilled a hard shot past Hockenberger with 14.4 seconds left.
Northstars Head coach Pat Kennedy said his team’s attack has evolved during the season. Instead of long runs and “home run” passes, as he put it, C-NS had to settle for smaller passes, especially with defenses laying back to stop them.
Essentially, that’s how the Northstars protected its one-goal lead in the second half, rarely letting F-M clear the ball out of its own end, even if it could not add to that slim margin.
With six minutes left, F-M got a penalty corner and nearly put in the tying goal, with senior defender Alana Lorraine turning away the ball at the last moment.
Lorraine, along with fellow defenders Emily Blidy, Marissa Felasco, Samantha Mallory and Shannon Dengos, limited the Hornets’ chances throughout the night.
C-NS still had to get through two more league games next week, at Baldwinsville and Auburn, in order to win the outright league title.