Nov 13, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Bad weather and a 10-day rest did not keep the Cazenovia field hockey team from taking out Glens Falls in last Saturday’s Class B regional final.
But a hot goalie did.
Paced by the brilliant play of netminder Sarah Rios, the Section II champion Indians edged past the Lakers, 1-0, last Saturday at Rome Free Academy Stadium, denying Cazenovia a chance at its first-ever trip to the state final four.
“We had our chances,” said head coach Lorraine Scheftic. “We played a great game and did all we could, but she (Rios) was amazing.”
Officially, Rios was credited with seven saves, but every one of them was vital in a game where Cazenovia tried to overwhelm Glens Falls with numbers in the attack, and the Indians used a possession-oriented counterattack.
First, though, they all had to wait. The game’s start was pushed back nearly an hour by lightning in the area. Eventually, it went away, but the rain would remain present all game long.
This delay only made the Lakers more anxious. Cazenvoia had secured its first-ever Section III Class B title in that overtime classic over Holland Patent back on Nov. 1, so it had to wait a week and a half to get back on the field, its longest break of the season.
Understandably, the rust showed early, as Glens Falls dictated the pace and had its share of opportunities. Margaux Hoagland would turn them away, eventually gaining six saves on the afternoon.
Midway through the first half, the Lakers swarmed the Indians’ net, a flurry that lasted for several minutes. One shot went in, but since it was outside the 20-yard circle, it did not count. Rios stopped everything else.
Attacking again, Glens Falls broke through when, with 4:43 left in the half, a shot by Lauren Winchell trickled across the goal line past Hoagland.
Moments later, Brittany Furlong had her best shot of the day, a hard blast from the point — and Rios kicked it away.
The second half followed a similar pattern. Hoagland, along with defenders Breanna Smith, Kate Webber, Lauren Colligan and Dena Beacham, turned away the Indians’ early chances, then watched as Cazenovia made its own big push.
Midway through the half, Katy Vogl looked to have her shot in the net as Rios was out of position, but a Glens Falls defender scrambled back and picked the ball away from the goal line before it could cross over.
Rios then made a string of great stops down the stretch, constantly denying the Lakers that tying goal — and unlike with Holland Patent, there would not be any last-second rescue.
Scheftic spent a long time talking to her team after the awards were handed out, lifting their spirits.
“I told them to be proud of our season,” she said. “This was a game that could have gone either way.”
There was every reason to be proud, as Cazenovia had gone 18-2-1 and claimed its first-ever sectional title.
Now a remarkable group of 15 seniors depart. Together, players like Furlong, Hoagland, Vogl, Smith, Beacham, Webber, Colligan and Dana Pulkinen had been at the core of the Lakers’ rise from nondescript squad to a championship level.
As they move on, stars like Jaimie Purdy, Maggie Dougherty and Katie McLean will be responsible for keeping that flame alive, with the benchmark of a sectional title to shoot at again in 2007.