Perhaps it wasn’t the outright prize that it longed for, but the East Syracuse-Minoa field hockey team still managed to claim a share of the Onondaga High School League regular-season championship.
The Spartans would split the title three ways with Cazenovia and Weedsport, each side with two league defeats, all of them on the road to each other.
Overall, ESM went 13-3 in the regular season, locking up its portion of the league honors in last Thursday night’s trip to Cortland, where it played through the rain and pasted the Purple Tigers in a 4-0 shutout.
Attacking at will, the Spartans grabbed a 2-0 edge by halftime, and then doubled that margin thanks to a well-balanced scoring distribution.
Brittany Evans, with two goals, set the pace, while Melissa Koch and Tiffany Evans earned one goal apiece. Judi Neff and Haley Albertson each got one assist, part of a lopsided effort where it took Cortland goalie Mikayla Cerio making 17 saves to keep ESM somewhat frustrated.
With the top seed in the Section III Class B playoffs, the Spartans will play Saturday in the semifinals against the winner of an opening-round game between no. 4 seed New Hartford and no. 5 seed Whitesboro. Camden, the no. 2 seed, draws the Cortland-Central Valley Academy winner in the other semifinal.
Fayetteville-Manlius, who did not play last week, still managed to snare the top seed for the sectional Class A tournament.
Not only that, but the Hornets will play at home in Sunday’s semifinal against no. 4 seed Rome Free Academy, with the winner going to the championship game against Cicero-North Syracuse or Liverpool. Those games start at 4 p.m.