At one point early in the season, the Cazenovia field hockey team could point to its game against Baldwinsville as one of the season’s signature moments, where it would test itself against a reigning Section III and regional Class A champion hungry for more.
Yet by the time the Lakers got to Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium last Friday night, some of the hype had died down a bit, in part because the Bees had, in the previous week, suffered lopsided defeats at Whitney Point (6-1 on Sept. 30) and at home against Cicero-North Syracuse (4-1).
Still, if the buzz had subdued, neither team realized it because they put together a classic, going back and forth beyond the 60 minutes of regulation before the Lakers made the last surge in overtime and prevailed, 5-4, over B’ville.
Throughout the first half, there were chances on both ends, with each side converting once. Then Zoe Shephard’s goal right before the horn helped push Cazenovia in front, 2-1, going to the break.
Instead of discouraging the Bees, it simply brought out a higher gear, something the Lakers had to match as the pace quickened. Each time Cazenovia went in front, B’ville answered, to the point that, at the end of regulation, they were tied, 4-4.
As long as the teams played 11-on-11, B’ville seemed to have the advantage, peppering the Lakers’ defense. It required 24 saves from Shea Flannery to keep things close, while Bees goalie Hailey Boda had eight saves.
But in the seven-on-seven OT session, Cazenovia flourished, prevailing as Shephard notched her fifth point of the night, having netted three goals and assisted on tallies by Mikaylee Whalen and Katie Ammann. Whalen also got credit for an assist.
For B’ville, Lauren Brushingham piled up three assists, with Amanda Strenk notching a pair of goals to give her 23 for the season. Mary Cate McKee and Emma Brushingham had the other goals.
Before all this, Cazenovia had the unusual assignment of playing the same team twice in as many days, first hosting Weedsport at Burton Street last Tuesday afternoon, and then facing the Warriors on the road 24 hours later.
The first of these games was Senior Day for Shephard, Whalen and Molly LaHart, each of whom were honored following the game with a dinner, speeches and the tradition of donning ceremonial blankets given to them by the other team members.
As to the game itself, Cazenovia won it, 4-0, getting three of those goals in the first half and overcoming Mariah Quigley’s 17 saves. Katie Ammann led the attack, scoring twice and adding an assist, while Whalen contributed one goal and one assist and Cavy Monahan also scored. Shephard got two assists and Margaret Kmetz added an assist.
The rematch with Weedsport on Wednesday wasn’t much different. In fact, the final score was the same, 4-0 in Cazenovia’s favor, though this time the game was at Weedsport, with slightly different conditions and a far more active effort from Shephard.
Taking a part in all but one of the Lakers’ scoring plays, Shephard finished with two goals and one assist. Molly Brown stepped up, too, with one goal and one assist as Ammann also converted. Peyton Clarke contributed an assist as Shea Flannery earned another shutout, stopping all 10 Weedsport shots she faced.
When it prevailed at B’ville, Cazenovia ran its win streak to 10, and would look for 11 in a row Tuesday against Moravia before ending the regular season Thursday at Homer.