Cazenovia Just on the most technical of terms, the Cazenovia field hockey team's 2014 season began on Labor Day weekend.
In truth, though, the work had started more than nine months ago, on the old (now removed) Astroturf at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium, where the Lakers' dreams of a third state Class C championship in four years got dashed in a double-overtime defeat to Pierson/Bridgehampton.
Avoiding much roster turnover, the Lakers and head coach Lorraine Scheftic saw just five seniors - Colleen Stalder, Maureen Milmoe, Holly Gamlen, Hannah Light-Olson and Hannah Dain - graduate.
Everyone else, ranging from forwards Rachel McLaughlin, Sarah Willard and Gabby Yates, to midfielders Maria Stalder,Sarah Liddell and Josie Chiarello, to defenders Meredith Shephard and Maddy Langey and goalie Kimber Nourse, are back, looking to extend a Section III championship streak to nine straight years and, of course, get back to the state final four, staged this year at Maine-Endwell High School near Binghamton.
And it could not have started better.
As part of a tournament during Labor Day weekend, Cazenovia got to face both of last year's sectional Class A finalists, Cicero-North Syracuse and the host team, Fayetteville-Manlius - and won each of the games by equal 3-0 margins.
It all began Friday afternoon, against C-NS, with a first half that was, by the Lakers' own standards, uneven. Cazenovia controlled the early stages, but its shot attempts, from McLaughlin and Yates, got turned back.
Put to the test late in the first half when the Northstars earned four penalty corners, the Lakers' defense turned them back, keeping it 0-0, which didn't last long once the second half got underway.
Six minutes into the half, Yates, new to the starting lineup, got open again and, off a feed from Maria Stalder, converted the first goal of the season. Just three minutes later, it was 2-0 thanks to McLaughlin, who fired a hard shot past C-NS goalie Julia Lantry after timely passes from Chiarello and Willard.