Barker set for state field hockey semifinals

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 15 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Barker’s Melissa Grosshans, shown here putting a shot against East Rochester goalie Johannah Price during the Far West Regional, and her Lady Raider teammates will be competing in the State Class C semifinals Saturday at Cicero North Syracuse against Cazenovia.

Hoping the third time is the charm, Barker will take on Cazenovia in the state Class C field hockey semifinals at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

The victor advances to Sunday’s Class C title contest against the winner of the Pierson/Bridgehampton vs. Whitney Point semi.

It marks the third time in the last four years that Barker has advanced to the state semifinals. The Lady Raiders dropped narrow one goal decisions in the previous two contests to Southhampton last year and to Pierson/Bridgehampton in 2010.

“It will be a challenge,” said Barker Coach Jeff Costello of Cazenovia which has captured the state Class C title twice in the last three years (2011, 2010).

‘We have to be patient and play our game,” Costello added. “Our defense has to play like they did against East Rochester (a 1-0 Barker victory in the Far West Regional). That was the best we’ve played defensively all season and we have to keep that up.”

Costello points to a late season league loss to Kenmore for reigniting the Lady Raiders season.

“That loss really refocused our kids,” Costello said. “Our kids really rededicated themselves after that loss.”

Cazenovia, which blanked Hoosick Falls 2-0 in the Central Region to advance to the state semis, is led offensively by the junior duo of Rachel McLaughlin (22 goals, 8 assists) and Sarah Willard (13 goals, 12 assists).

Barker’s balanced attack is paced by Melissa Grosshans (11 goals), Heather Mason (10 goals), Erin Greenwald (7 goals), Olivia Denny (7 goals), Gabby Clare (6 goals) and Brooke Bodine (5 goals).

Goalie Caitlyn Mason, who blanked East Rochester in the regional, anchors the Lady Raiders defense.

“We have to keep playing strong defense and offensively we’ve got to pass the ball and hit the ball with a purpose,” Costello said. “At this level all of the games are going to be tight so when we get opportunities we have to make the most of those chances.”