A tired, tested Cazenovia field hockey team was all too glad to return home after a late-September stretch that included the end of its long Onondaga High School League undefeated streak and other bits of adversity.
When the Lakers faced Homer on Wednesday at Burton Street Elementary School, it marked the team’s first home game since Sept. 13, when it beat Weedsport 2-0 to give head coach Lorraine Scheftic her 200th career win.
Six straight road games followed, including back-to-back defeats to East Syracuse-Minoa and Burnt Hills, a rare occurrence, given the program’s overwhelming recent success.
By the time Cazenovia paid a visit to Port Byron last Monday afternoon, it was playing for the fourth time in six days, and nearly lost this one, too, before a stirring late rally produced a 2-1 overtime victory over the Panthers.
Despite a 3-4-1 record, Port Byron withstood the Lakers’ early charges and took a 1-0 first-half lead on Noel Smith’s goal, assisted by Leanne Maltese.
From there, Cazenovia’s defense shut down the Panthers and kept on pushing until, in the second half, it tied the game, setting up the seven-on-seven overtime period and an eventual winning goal.
Sarah Willard and Gabriel Yates earned the goals, overcoming a superb performance by Port Byron goalie Amanda Lupo, who finished with 16 saves.
As it happened, Cazenovia’s fifth straight road game took place Thursday, at Liverpool, against a defending Class A champion Warrior side starting to find itself following a slow start to the season.
And this would follow the Port Byron game note-for-note, with the Lakers again falling behind early, again rallying in the second half and again pulling it out, 2-1, in overtime, overcoming the work of Liverpool goalie Megan Evangelista, who made 13 saves.
With that, Cazenovia improved to 7-3, and then rested before meeting Homer and, on Friday, going on the road once more, this time to face Cato-Meridian.