All through the early portion of its schedule, the Cazenovia field hockey team has provided plenty of excitement and nervous moments to its fans, and did so again at the outset of a busy week where it would play four times in six days.
The Lakers went to Bragman Stadium, site of so many of its most famous triumphs in Section III and state tournaments, Monday night and, thanks to the likes of Zoe Shephard and Shea Flannery, delivered another memorable effort to beat Cicero-North Syracuse 3-2.
Not only were the Northstars 2-0 going into the game, it had not yet allowed a goal. All of that changed with 12:14 left in the first half when Shephard, off a penalty corner and a pass from Katie Ammann, drilled a shot from the point that zoomed past C-NS goalie Ally Wagner.
Less than two minutes later, the Northstars pulled even on Allie Ball’s rebound of a Jamie Snyder shot, and it stayed 1-1 until halftime. But less than a minute into the second half, the Lakers earned another penalty corner and Mikaylee Whalen pulled off a perfect blind pass behind her to Shephard, who netted her second goal.
Unfazed by this, C-NS resumed its attack and, within four minutes, again tied it, 2-2, on Jamie Wagner’s goal. Then the Northstars dominated the middle portion of the half, swarming Cazenovia’s defense and nearly getting in front.
Somehow, Flannery turned back all the chances on her way to 17 saves for the night, with Whalen, Ammann, Mackenzie Yates, Ava Hartley and Kathrny Kielbasinski all helping out on the back line and Shephard getting in front of shots, too.
Finally the Lakers were able to clear it, and with 9:48 left in regulation Shephard flashed open on the left side, unleashing one of her trademark rocket shots that eluded Wagner for the hat trick and a Cazenovia lead. From there, the defense helped Cazenovia hang on, with Shephard making the final clear as time ran out.