CORTLAND — Set pieces proved to be the difference in Friday night’s field hockey game between the Cortland Purple Tigers and the Cicero-North Syracuse Northstars.
But it was an unlikely source who was the key contributor on those set pieces.
Defenseman — yes, defenseman — Shannon Brown scored two goals for the Northstars en route to a 4-0 victory at Cortland High.
Cortland controlled the pace in the opening quarter, earning an early penalty corner, but they could not convert. It would end up being the best offensive chance they’d have all game.
The second quarter was all C-NS. Less than a minute in, Jamie Snyder collected a rebound off goalie Isabella Smith (nine saves) and tapped it in on the left post.
Just 65 seconds later, Giovanna DiToma scored off a penalty corner when her shot was initially stopped by Smith, but trickled over the goal line as she looked to get the ball to safety.
With 2:35 left in the third quarter, Brown made her presence felt by scoring on a set piece from 20 yards away. Perhaps seeing the defenseman take the shot was alarming to all involved, as practically nobody on the field on either team moved while she took her shot.
Less than a minute into the third quarter, Brown earned her second goal with a shot past a diving Smith to finish the scoring.
Among Smith’s nine saves were a flurry of stops midway through the third quarter with traffic from both teams blocking much of her view. Her efforts kept hope alive for the Purple Tigers, but the Northstars defense snuffed out their chances in the second half.
Cortland is off until Thursday when they visit Auburn at 5 p.m. before wrapping up their season at home Nov. 14 against Baldwinsville.