Cazenovia's field hockey team with the second-place championship plaque after Sunday's state Class C championship game at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium. The Lakers fell to Pierson/Bridgehampton 1-0 in double overtime, falling just short of a third state title in four years.
Cicero Three years ago, the Cazenovia field hockey team broke through and won the school's first-ever state team championship in overtime over Pierson/Bridgehampton.
Those same two teams met again Sunday afternoon at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium with the same stakes, and again it went to overtime - but this time the Whalers prevailed in a 1-0 decision.
Not until late in the second extra period was it settled. Off a penalty corner with 32.8 seconds left in that extra period, Pierson/Bridgehampton's Kasey Gilbride flung a back-handed shot past Cazenovia goalie Kimber Nourse, settling the long battle.
Even before this game started, Cazenovia had to shake off the effects of Saturday's long, draining state semifinal (a 1-0, double-overtime decision over Barker) and beat the same P/B side that it toppled in 2010.
Of course, the Whalers had gone through their own long state semifinal, too, needing seven rounds of penalty strokes to get past Whitney Point. Thus, both sides had to battle possible fatigue, not to mention wet, windy conditions far removed from the calm and sunny warmth of the day before.
With the wind at its back, Cazenovia immediately went into attack mode, forcing three penalty corners in the first five minutes, but getting just one shot - a blast from Rachel McLaughlin that flew wide left.
Gradually, P/B began to organize its own attacks, only to run into fierce defensive resistance from the Lakers as the Whalers were unable to get any early shots on Nourse.
But Nourse did make a save on a penalty corner midway through the half, with defender Maddy Langey turning away another chance two minutes later. The pressure led Scheftic to call a time-out with 14:06 left in the half.
While it didn't translate into many more Cazenovia opportunities, it did slow down P/B's momentum for the rest of the half. Then, right before the break, the Lakers thought it had a go-ahead goal on a long attempt from the left side, but it was quickly waved off, and they were 0-0 going to the second half.