Nov 03, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Three days after a scoring outburst nearly derailed the Cazenovia field hockey team’s latest championship run, it relied on the very same tactic to secure a return to the state Class C playoffs.
The Lakers, trailing Morrisville-Eaton at halftime of Saturday’s Section III state qualifier at Rome Free Academy Stadium, erupted early in the second half and, in the process, did enough to earn a 4-1 victory over the Warriors.
This will bring Cazenovia back to Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium, where it won state championships in 2010 and ’11, to face Section II champion Hoosick Falls next Saturday in the regional finals, with the winner of that game to come back to C-NS for the Nov. 16-17 state final four. Game time is 2 p.m.
At first, though, the concern was that the Lakers would not even make it past Morrisville-Eaton, an undefeated (18-0) side that, three days earlier, had beaten Weedsport 2-1 for the sectional Class D title on Jessica Welsh’s goal in the last minute of regulation.
While the Warriors had plenty of momentum, the Lakers were still settling down after squandering a 3-0 lead to Holland Patent in the second half of its sectional final, settling for a 3-3 tie, a co-championship and advancing on penalty strokes.
To its credit, Cazenovia got off to a strong start in the first 15 minutes against M-E, as Colleen Stalder, Ashley Kent and Rachel McLaughlin all missed good chances to get on the board.
But it remained 0-0, and the Warriors started to find some traction in its attack midway through the half. Kimber Nourse turned back shots from Welsh and Lauren Kellum, but neither she, nor the Laker defenders, could keep Welsh from weaving through them and firing a shot into the cage to put M-E in front 1-0.
Still trailing at halftime, Cazenovia adjusted its attack – and it would immediately pay off. Less than five minutes into the second half, McLaughlin, off a feed from Willard, beat M-E goalie Jessica Carroll to tie it, 1-1.
Charged up by that goal, the Lakers continued to build its attack, and McLaughlin returned to put in the go-ahead goal with 18:30 left. Less than 90 seconds later, it was 3-1, Kent finding the net.
Not letting up one bit, Cazenovia sealed the victory in the final minutes with its fourth unanswered goal as Willard beat Carroll, ensuring another week of practice and at least a chance at a third state title in four years.