B'ville girls battle to Class AA championship

No one involved with the Baldwinsville girls soccer team figured that, when it won a Section III and state championship in 2002, that it would take six long years to earn a banner again.

But after a long string of near-misses with talented teams that lacked just that extra bit of magic, the Bees finally are champions again, this after beating Christian Brothers Academy 2-1 in last Friday night's Class AA final at Chittenango High School.

Led by a determined group of 11 seniors, the Bees withstood all the challenges because, said head coach Kathy Morse, they put team goals ahead of individual accomplishment and blended well together, too.

"These kids have great chemistry and they know what they wanted," said Morse.

One of those seniors, Jen Fabian, agreed. "We just put our minds to our goal, then put our whole hearts into it, and it paid off," she said.

To get what it wanted, the Bees put together an early-game flurry to take charge against CBA, then relied on a first-rate defense to do the rest.

Attacking at the start, B'ville forced CBA into a defensive mode. This paid off when, 6:48 into the game, freshman Jackie Firenze hit a low cross to the middle -- and junior Quincey Spagnoletti put the shot home.

Less than two minutes later, it was 2-0, as Nicole Close took the ball out of a scramble in front of the net and hit a hard shot past CBA goalkeeper Ashley Walsh.

Poised to turn the final into a rout, the Bees instead began to cool down. It even suffered a rare defensive lapse when, in the 20th minute, Alexis Koval took a long pass from Taylor Gait and, from the right side, beat Casey Chiesa to put the Brothers on the board.

From that point onward, the Bees would have all kinds of chances to build back its margin. But they kept getting thwarted as Walsh, authoring one of the best games of her varsity career, picked up 15 saves.

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