It’s cold here in Cicero (35 degrees) and clear. But it’s supposed to get well into the 50s today.
It remains to be seen how long it will take the four-time defending state champion Lakeland Hornets to warm up.
This game is expected to present a lot more of a challenge to Lakeland than Garden City did in the Hornets’ 3-0 regional final win.
For those unable to attend, follow my game Tweets at @HaggertyNancy .
Below is my mini scouting report.
Class B state field hockey semifinal
Section 1 Lakeland (20-0) vs.
Section 4 Vestal (17-1)
When: Saturday, 9:30 a.m.
Where: Cicero-North Syracuse High School
Key players: Lakeland – Dana Bozek, So., Mid; Gab Celentano, Sr., Fwd.; Molly Fitzpatrick, Jr., Fwd; Steph Scala, Sr., Fwd; Vestal – Emily Barnard, Sr., Fwd.; Tori Jo Kakusian, Sweeper/Defense; Emily Schutt, So., Fwd.; Baylee Burghardt, So., Mid.
Outlook: With four straight titles, coach Sharon Sarsen’s Hornets know little about losing. The reason is balance. And balance, with Lakeland, starts with its defense. The Hornets have averaged more than five goals per game this season. At the same time, they’ve yielded only six goals in 20 games. Led by senior defender Kim Monteferantte, Lakeland has kept 15 teams completely off the scoreboard and it’s hard to lose when the opposition doesn’t score. Offensively, Lakeland isn’t afraid to go for the big breakout pass. But it also has players capable of wending their way through traffic. And its talent in the circle has led to plenty of chances off penalty corners. The Hornets’ opponent, the Golden Bears, lost their first game of the season, then rattled off 17 consecutive wins. It, too, isn’t afraid of going for the big strike and has done so many times off huge drives by Kakusian, who leads her team with 28 assists. Vestal is also known for converting its corners. But how many it will get against Lakeland is a question. And with Lakeland sporting three players with 20-plus goals and Vestal’s top scorers, Schutt and Barnard, leading the team with 12, the Hornets would appear to have the advantage. Add in their been-there/done-that comfort level and it seems likely that, although tested, Lakeland will advance to the finals.
Next up: The winner will play the Section 2 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake-vs.-Section 5 Brighton winner for the championship Sunday at 10 a.m. at the same location.