A furious early charge helped the Jamesville-DeWitt girls soccer team give East Syracuse-Minoa an early exit from the Section III Class A playoffs.
Despite its no. 11 seed and sub-.500 record in the regular season, the Red Rams jumped in front early and relied on its defense the rest of the way to blank the no. 6 seed Spartans, 2-0, in last Tuesday night's opening round.
With its home field at Spartan Stadium unplayable, ESM moved the game to Chittenango High School's Field Turf facility, a place both sides were familiar with, since the Bears also play in the OHSL Freedom division.
They would play in cold, raw conditions with occasional bursts of rain. ESM took a long time to warm up -- and by the time it did, it was staring at a two-goal deficit.
J-D was the aggressor from the start, and that paid off when, 10:32 into the contest, Cassie Guerra lofted a perfect cross from the right to Caitlin Tessier, and Tessier drilled a low shot past Allison Christie.
Keeping the opposition off balance, the Rams would find the net again in the 21st minute. ESM was unable to clear, and Megan Benedict directed the ball to Guerra, whose hard shot from the middle eluded Christie.
Now the tactics changed. The Spartans finally began making consistent pushes, and soon was encamped in J-D's end, producing a long series of good scoring opportunities.
However, the Rams' defense was up to that challenge. Christine Wilson, Emma Loewy and Molly Maroney anchored a back line that got in front of ESM's forwards and frustrated them. Any shot was gobbled up, too, as Caitlin Titus made nine saves for her most important shutout of the season.
As ESM left the scene, the Red Rams now would make a longer road trip, to take on no. 3 seed Whitesboro (who had a first-round bye) in Thursday's Class A quarterfinal.