Nov 14, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
It was another Section III championship season for the Cazenovia field hockey team – the fourth in a row.
And just like the previous three, the Lakers’ season ended in the regional round, one win short of the state final four.
For that, Cazenovia can mostly blame Marathon, who came to Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium Saturday night and controlled most phases of the game, beating the Lakers 4-0 in the Class C regional final.
If it was any consolation to Cazenovia, it was closer than last season’s 7-0 defeat to those same group of Olympians in that same regional round.
Still, Lakers head coach Lorrane Scheftic said that Marathon’s experience in big games played a big role in the outcome.
“They’ve been in this position a lot,” Scheftic said. “They were much more comfortable.”
What added to the Olympians’ comfort – and Cazenovia’s ultimate discomfort – was the presence of senior star Marta Malmberg, who just announced that she’s going to the University of North Carolina next fall.
Malmberg, the third-leading scorer in Marathon history (68 goals, 88 assists), put in both of her team’s goals in the first half.
Aside from a pair of penalty corners midway through, Cazenovia spent a majority of the first half in an unfamiliar position – playing in its own end, trying to keep Marathon from pulling in front.
Just 9:59 into the game, though, the Olympians seized a 1-0 lead when, off a penalty corner and a series of short, crisp passes, Malmberg flung the ball into the box.
Barely six minutes later, another Marathon penalty corner turned into another Malmberg goal, this one assisted by Stephanie Fiske. That 2-0 margin held up until halftime.
Scheftic said the Lakers were unaccustomed to playing so much defense. And the pressure kept coming in the second half as, aside from one long shot that rattled off the left post with 17:30 left, Cazenovia didn’t have many close-up chances.
“This year (against Marathon), we had some opportunities.,” Scheftic said. “We just didn’t capitalize on them.”
McKenna Light scored 9:39 into the half to make it 3-0, and just a minute after the Lakers’ lone near-miss, Alexis Root put in Marathon’s fourth and final goal.
As the Olympians advanced to meet East Rochester in the state semifinals next weekend at Vestal High School near Binghamton, the Lakers pondered its lone defeat in a 17-1-1 campaign.
More great things are expected in 2010. Just two starters – defender Siobhan Bigsby and midfielder Sarah Race – graduate, and the roster had just four seniors overall.
Every other starter – from attackers Tori Widrick, Abby Eschen and Jillian Vogl, to midfielders Ellen Burr and Belle Hoagland, to defenders Molly Hudson, Kara Stalder and Raeanne Clabeaux, plus goalie Emily Mastropaolo – returns, and maybe then, at long last, the Lakers can move closer to a state championship.
“One of these days, we’re going to do it,” Scheftic said.