Cicero With the moon out on a unseasonably warm November evening, the Cazenovia Lakers looked to advance to its third Class C field hockey state final in four years.
It ended up taking a little bit longer than the Lakers probably hoped, but a goal from junior Ashley Kent three minutes into the second overtime lifted Cazenovia over Section VI champion Barker 1-0 in Saturday's state semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
“It only takes one,” Lakers’ head coach Lorraine Scheflic said. "And we were able to pull it out.”
Kent scored off a pass from Sarah Willard, but Scheflic said the play was originally designed for Willard to score. Willard was supposed to bring the ball as close to the Raiders' net as possible before lifting the ball over goalie Caitlyn Mason.
But instead of shooting, Willard opted to cross the ball to Kent on the opposite side of the net. Luckily for the Lakers, Kent corralled the pass and immediately fired a shot past Mason into the back of the net.
Kent called the goal “emotional,” and took a few moments before realizing her team had won.
“I was just shocked,” she said. “At first I was just quiet, and I was just like, ‘we just won! We just won!’ And then I started crying.”
The Lakers almost ended the game in the first OT after Willard's shot was rejected by the left goal post. After a penalty corner, the Lakers earned a few good looks at the net, but each shot was knocked away - first by Barker defenders, then by Mason, and finally by the post.
The entire Lakers bench, including Scheflic, thought that last shot went in.
“I thought it was very close, if not in," Scheftic said.
Despite the win, Scheflic said her team was a little too anxious on those penalty corners (10 in all, five of them in the OT periods) and did not take enough shots on offense.
“Mentally I just think we were a little off on those,” she said. “But hey, when you come out with the win, you can’t complain.”
The Lakers move on to play Pierson/Bridgehampton Sunday at 12:30 for the Class C state championship, again on the C-NS turf. The Whalers had to survive seven rounds of penalty strokes to get past Whitney Point in the ohter state semifinal.
Although Scheflic said she didn’t watch too much of the Whalers’ game, she did notice the team was more physical than the Lakers, but didn’t know how that would affect the next game.