October 1 , 2008


Caz keeps CHS from moving up


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Andrea Turcsik (left) of Cortland HIgh battles Tori Widrick of Cazenovia during Tuesday’s field hockey showdown. First place Cazenovia was a 2-0 winner.

Staff Writer

With the rain picking up in intensity, the two coaches involved in Tuesday’s OHSL field hockey showdown between visiting Cazenovia and Cortland High implored their teams at halftime, with the score 0-0, to send the ball downfield and toward the goal more.
The strategy paid off for the Lakers, who ended up scoring a 2-0 victory over their closest league competition.
Cazenovia is now unbeaten in seven league games and is 8-2-1 overall. Second-place Cortland fell to 6-2 in the league and 8-2 overall.
“Our defense was playing real well,” Purple Tigers coach Jamie Brown said. “We just wanted them to try to get free hits off quickly, get the ball down the field to generate more offense. Initially we did that, early in the second half, which is why they called a timeout.”
That Cazenovia timeout was requested for just seven minutes into the second half.
“It’s a little harder when it gets slippery,” added Brown. “People are falling, and there are unsettled situations. We hoped that might go our way.”
As it was, the Lakers benefited, as senior attack Devyn Speer corralled a loose ball and unleashed a shot from around 15 yards out on the right side that squirted past CHS freshman goalie Maggie Brown with 19:47 left in the game.
“Maggie had it all lined up, and probably she’d make the save under normal conditions 90 percent of the time,” Jamie Brown said of her daughter. “But the conditions were the same for both teams. It looked like she turned her pads and the ball skidded off of them.
“I was pleased to see that we didn’t sit back after that and took it right back down the field. The girls had the attitude that they could come back and still had a lot of game left.”
“We told the girls that the ball was going to be slippery and not to wait, just shoot,” Cazenovia coach Lorraine Scheftic said. “Either Maggie would make the save, or the ball would go in; luckily for us, that’s what happened on Devyn’s shot. Maggie was on top of it, but it was slippery. Getting the lead was big, especially under those conditions.”
‘I just stopped the ball and shot as hard as I could,” Speer said of her fourth goal of the season. “It was pretty slippery, so getting the lead helped.”
The rain stopped with around 11 minutes left in the game, the field of course still soaked, and with 4:25 left Caz sophomore attack Tori Widrick scored off an assist from freshman attack Jillian Vogl on a play that started as a penalty corner.
“I took the cross from Jillian and just pushed it in,” Widrick said in describing her eighth goal of the season, which came from close range just 25 seconds after Brown had come out to cut down the angle and forced Widrick to shoot wide left from close in on the left side.
IN ALL, THE  the winners had a 7-2 shot advantage in the contest, Maggie Brown making three saves to two for Laker senior netminder Jennifer Budnar. Brown, however, played aggressively and broke up at least three more Cazenovia opportunities by kicking away loose balls, at times in sliding fashion, to help keep the game scoreless at halftime and close throughout. She has now allowed just six goals in 10 games this season, and shares five shutouts with her stingy defense.
Cazenovia had the territorial advantage over the first 30 minutes, its best chance coming in two-minute flurry that started just after the midway point as Brown made a sliding save, and kicked out a loose ball before another shot went wide. The Purple Tigers’ best chance in the game came out of a scramble in front with 7:40 left until intermission, the ball just inches from the goal line on the right-wing side before the visitors were able to clear it.
After the game’s first goal, the hosts, as their coach mentioned, roared back down the field and narrowly missed scoring out of another scramble in front.
“We outplayed them a little today, but when we play Cortland it’s always back and forth,’ Scheftic said. We had two close ones this season (the other a 1-0 Caz home victory on Sept. 9, the lone goal coming with 6:50 left). If everything goes the way it did in the first half, we should take the league. But we still have to play Homer on their turf (this Tuesday) and you can’t count Weedsport (which visits the Lakers Thursday) out.”
On her part, Jamie Brown noted: “This season has definitely been quite a nice surprise. We knew we’d be decent, but we’ve surprised ourselves. We’re gaining confidence each game, and keep showing improvement. Eleven or 12 of the girls went to a camp at Syracuse University the week before practice started, and embraced the philosophy, called Kai-Zen, of continued improvement that they learned there.
“We want to re-focus now and concentrate on trying to win out, and up the ante for our sectional seeding. Other than Homer and us, the rest of the Class B teams are from the Utica area, the Tri-Valley League and Center State Conference. That’s why we scheduled a game with Oneida,” she added, referring to a regular-season finale on the road Oct. 10.
CORTLAND JVs also lost to Cazenovia 2-0 and are now 2-7-1 on the season. “It was a very evenly-played game, and we played a much-improved game from the first time we played them,” Purple Tigers coach Maureen White said. “I was very pleased with our passing and patience on defense to pressure the ball. Haleigh Zeches, Sarah Hartnett, Izzy Wittmaack and Hannah Bistocchi played well for the offense, while Julie Convertini and Zakarra Butts played very well defensively.”
Maria Speranza had four saves in the CHS nets as the winners, who got both goals from Lisa Raleigh, had a 4-3 shot advantage in the game, which was shortened due to darkness. Lindsey Eusterly stopped one shot for Caz.
Both Cortland teams visit Cato-Meridian Thursday and are at Auburn in non-league action Saturday.

Cazenovia 2, Cortland 0
By periods:
Cazenovia      0    2    —    2
Cortland                0    0    —    0
Goals-Assists: Cazenovia- Devyn Speer 1-0, Tori Widrick 1-0, Jillian Vogl 0-1
Shots: Cazenovia 7, Cortland 2
Penalty Corners: Cazenovia 7, Cortland 2
Saves: Jennifer Budnar (Caz) 2, Maggie Brown (Cort) 3