Sep 14, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
It took two tries, a full week and a weather postponement, but as the clock ran out on a chilly, wet Friday afternoon at Burton Street Elementary School, Cazenovia field hockey coach Lorraine Scheftic could, at last, celebrate the 200th win in her coaching tenure.
To get to Scheftic’s milestone, the Lakers had to beat Weedsport, one of the top sides in the Onondaga High School league, and it took all 60 minutes for Cazenovia to battle on both ends and earn a 2-0 decision over the Warriors.
The week started with Scheftic sitting on 199 wins. Last Monday night, at Cicero-North Syracuse, the Lakers struggled with the Class A power Northstars, rarely getting possession of the ball and taking a 1-0 defeat to the Northstars.
The plan, originally, was to face Weedsport on Wednesday afternoon. But a heat index near 100 degrees, combined with thunderstorms that rumbled through the area, caused the game to be pushed back to Friday.
By that time, it was 40 degrees cooler, and a constant rain and mist added to the difficulty on the Burton Street grass field. So did Weedsport, a team that had roared to a 5-0 start that included victories over two Class A opponents, Baldwinsville and Liverpool.
Confident in its approach, the Warriors controlled the flow of play in the early going, getting a series of penalty corners but not converting against a Cazenovia defense that, again, made it difficult to get anything past them.
Then, midway through the half, the Lakers forced its own penalty corner. Passes by Colleen Stalder and Sarah Willard gave Josie Chiarello an open shot, and she didn’t miss it, ripping one past Weedsport goalie Abby Marsden to put Cazenovia in front 1-0.
And it stayed that way the rest of the half, even though the Warriors got three more penalty corners that the Lakers had to stop, one of them on a clutch save by Kimber Nourse, one of five she made on the afternoon.
Throughout the early portion of the second half, the Lakers controlled the possession, nearly getting an insurance goal twice. Again, it had to wait until the middle portion of the half for a payoff.
Rachel McLaughlin, who had slipped on the wet grass on one of those second-half opportunities, returned with 13 minutes left and, taking Stalder’s pass on a penalty corner, beat Marsden (who finished with nine saves) for Cazenovia’s second goal.
Not content with that margin, the Lakers stayed aggressive to the end, rarely letting Weedsport organize an attack and clinching the big win for its two-time (2010 and ’11) state Class C championship coach.
Hardly tested in its first three games (all wins), the Lakers found itself in a defensive mode against C-NS at Bragman Stadium, but still hung in there to have a chance at the end.
Throughout the game, the back line of Maureen Milmoe, Holly Gamlen, Hannah Light-Olson and Sarah Liddell continually broke up C-NS possessions and scoring opportunities, and Nourse was superb, recording nine saves.
That kept the game 0-0 until, 1:21 into the second half, Marie Aloi sent a screaming shot from the right point that Nourse had no chance of stopping.
In each of the two halves of play, C-NS controlled matters early, only to have the Lakers pressure late. That was especially true in the last two minutes when, using both time-outs, Cazenovia again tried to pull even, but saw the chances get turned back.
So Scheftic had to wait until Friday to clear the 400 hurdle – and just in time, for another set of tough games loomed, including Wednesday night’s visit to defending Class B champion East Syracuse-Minoa and an appearance next weekend at the Camden Tournament.