Nov 01, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
From painful agony to unbounded ecstasy, all in the span of a few minutes.
That summed up the mood of the West Genesee girls soccer team in the wake of its stunning 2-1 overtime win over no. 1 seed Liverpool in Tuesday night’s Section III Class AA semifinal at Corcoran High School.
Seemingly beaten at the end of regulation, WG turned it around when Bekah Elmer scored with 1:02 to play, then converted again early in the first OT period.
Now, in consecutive outings, WG has knocked out both the defending champions (Cicero-North Syracuse) and the heavy favorites (Liverpool), both in overtime battles.
Way back on Sept. 23, WG had handed the Warriors a 1-0 defeat, the only loss Liverpool suffered all season — and it did so without key players like Elmer and Nicole Perkins, out with injuries at the time.
Now at full strength, WG was still not expected to pull it off again, and for much of this game, it seemed like the Warriors would get payback.
A suffocating, air-tight Warrior defense tracked WG’s forwards step-for-step, offering no room to create scoring opportunities. The Wildcats did not give Liverpool goalie Ashleigh Bowers (six saves) much to worry about.
Meanwhile, Liverpool took the measure of WG’s defense and stayed fairly patient. Just before halftime, Jordan Miller sliced a shot from the left corner that eluded Melissa Stevens and found the net, putting the Warriors up 1-0.
Throughout the second half, as the Wildcats remained stymied, Liverpool tried to add to the margin, but Stevens, who finished with 15 saves, coolly accepted every challenge and kept WG within sight, just in case something broke.
But no one, on either side, could have imagined the ending.
With the clock ticking toward the final minute of regulation, WG attacked down the left, drawing a foul 22 yards from the net. Wasting little time, Elmer then hit a perfect free kick, high and hard. Bowers never had a chance as the ball tucked inside the top-right corner of the net to tie the game.
The shock of what just transpired lingered into overtime. Just 1:36 into the extra period, the fired-up Wildcats charged again. From the left, Chrissie Hanley passed to the middle — and Elmer ripped a shot past Bowers again. This very same combination had produced the overtime goal that beat Cicero-North Syracuse in the quarterfinals.
For the remaining 18-plus minutes of OT, the Wildcats’ defense, led by Perkins, Monica Sisson, Rachel Lasda, Lauren Corso and Kiersten Tupper, shut the door and kept Liverpool from answering.
This sets up an AA title match between WG and Baldwinsville, who needed its own bit of overtime drama to beat Auburn, 2-1, in the other semifinal.