Ever since getting whacked by Cortland in April, the Jamesville-DeWitt girls lacrosse looked forward to its rematch with the Purple Tigers with first place in the Freedom League at stake.
Sure enough, the sequel was much closer than the original -- but once again, Cortland came out on top, playing first-class defense down the stretch to thwart the Red Rams 7-6.
Highly confident after one-sided wins over Fulton and Chittenango the week before, J-D displayed that confidence by blanking Cortland over the game's first 17 minutes.
The Rams' defenders, including Claire Kopp, Rachel West, Alex Freeman and Emily Luckette, ran right with the Purple Tigers' deep group of attackers and caused a series of turnovers.
Meanwhile, Melissa Jaworski scored twice, putting J-D in front, and Lauren Cobb converted, too, to make it 3-0 late in the half, forcing Cortland to use a timeout.
From there, the Purple Tigers won every remaining draw in the first half and took over with three unanswered goals. And when Caitlin Stevens converted just 7.5 seconds before halftime, Cortland grabbed a 4-3 edge that it took into the break.
Each side continued to play at a full pace early in the second half. Three times, J-D tied it, on goals by Jaworski, Tori Nies and Emily Johnson. Each time, Cortland answered, the game threatening to turn into a shoot-out.
When Janelle Stegeland, going to Syracuse University next year, hit on her second goal with 16:46 left in regulation to break a 6-6 tie, that figured to be just another momentum shift in a game that already seen its share of them.
But remarkably, neither side would score again. J-D's defense again stepped up, making a series of great stops (goalie Tara Prosak had 12 saves) to keep the margin at one. However, every time the Rams tried to tie it, Cortland turned it away, helped by Caitlin Cotton making 12 saves of her own, including one in the final minute to seal her team's win.
Stegeland and Jaworski were the only players all night to score more than one goal. Nies and Kate Byrnes both earned assists. J-D fell to 10-4 on the season as Cortland improved to 11-1.