Nov 06, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In a purely technical sense, the Manlius-Pebble Hill girls soccer team now owns back-to-back Section III Class C championship banners – but this is the first time the Trojans have the crown on its own.
Unlike 2006, when MPH shared the title with Cooperstown, then lost a penalty-kick shoot-out to move to the state tournament, the Trojans got the outright Class C title last Saturday at SUNY-Cortland, though it again had to go to overtime to pull out its 2-0 win over Waterville.
Waterville was trying to complete a rare sweep of the top three seeds in the sectional Class C tournament. Already, the Indians had survived shoot-outs with no. 2 seed Faith Heritage and no. 3 seed Utica-Notre Dame to reach this title game.
Now it was MPH’s turn to deal with Waterville’s defense and its red-hot goalkeeper, Megan Zogby — who, by herself, nearly derailed the Trojans’ title dreams and its 19-game win streak.
For much of the 80 minutes of regulation, MPH played in the Indians’ end, probing and attacking to see if it could beat Zogby.
Overall, the Trojans took 21 shots, to Waterville’s five. Mostly, Zogby handled those chances, as she finished with nine saves and kept the game 0-0, increasing the tension among MPH fans.
So they would go to overtime, playing two full 10-minute periods, just as they had done in that late-night epic with Cooperstown 12 months before.
Only this time, the Trojans would break through. Late in the first OT period, Suzanne Englot flashed open in Waterville’s end and finally placed a shot that eluded Zogby and crashed into the net.
Try as it could, the Indians could not answer, and with 1:53 left, Rebecca Gregory sealed the victory, taking a pass from Sophie Finalyson-Schueler and converting on the insurance goal.
In sharp contrast to Waterville’s tightrope walk, MPH had an easier time of it during the playoffs, including last Wednesday’s Class C semifinal at Corcoran, where Makeda McGowan took over in the course of a 6-1 romp over no. 5 seed Mohawk.
Before the Mohicans could even get settled in the first half, MPH had a 3-0 lead. An exchange of goals followed, and the Trojans pulled even further away in the second half.
Through it all, McGowan was a constant irritant to Mohawk’s defense. She was involved in all but one of MPH’s scoring plays, putting away three goals for her first playoff hat trick and adding two assists.
Kelley Dew assisted on two of McGowan’s tallies, while joining Gregory and Kendra Futera in the one-goal column. Finlayson-Schueler also had an assist.
With its first outright sectional title in hand, the Trojans take its 20-game win streak into Saturday’s Class C regional final against Section IV champion Candor. The winner advances to next weekend’s state final four in the Cortland area.