Cazenovia Perhaps the Onondaga High School League field hockey championship isn't leaving Cazenovia after all.
Three weeks after seeing East Syracuse-Minoa end its long league unbeaten streak, the Lakers met the Spartans again on Tuesday afternoon - and playing at home, the Lakers produced a different outcome, edging the Spartans 1-0 on Rachel McLaughlin's goal late in the second half.
"This is huge for us, a real confidence booster," said Cazenovia head coach Lorraine Scheftic.
With that win, Cazenovia, with an 8-1 league mark, moved back into first place in the OHSL, ahead of ESM's 9-2 mark that included a defeat to Weedsport on Sept. 17, just one day before its 2-1 overtime win over Cazenovia.
What that loss, and this game, had in common was a grass field. Cazenovia's natural home surface at Burton Street Elementary School is a setting where ESM, who has an artificial turf at Spartan Stadium, has never found a total comfort zone.
Also, when Cazenovia played ESM that first time, forward Ashley Kent was out with an injury, and McLaughlin, nursing a hamstring injury, played, but at far from full strength.
Both of them, along with the other Lakers, would attack the Spartans hard from the start in the rematch. But ESM was just as aggressive, leading to a swift first-half pace and lots of scoring opportunities on both sides.
In fact, before they hit the halftime break, Cazenovia would pick up six penalty corners and ESM five, but it remained 0-0. The Lakers kept getting thwarted by the athletic work of Spartan goalie Rachel Aird, who was on her way to 11 saves.
This back-and-forth battle continued deep into the second half. Yet even when ESM gained penalty corners, the Lakers' defense, anchored by seniors Maureen Milmoe and Holly Gamlen, rarely allowed for clean shots at goalie Kimber Nourse, who only had to make one save.