Oct 30, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
One comeback, apparently, was all the Cicero-North Syracuse girls soccer team could muster in the chilly air of last Wednesday’s Section III Class AA semifinal at Nottingham High School.
The no. 6 seed Northstars, in a performance reflective of its season-long resilience, came from two goals down to force overtime against no. 2 seed Christian Brothers Academy, only to take a 4-3 defeat to the Brothers as the defense of its 2007 sectional title finally came to an end.
All season long, the Northstars had dealt with injuries and inconsistency, most notably the departure of top defender Brittany Myles and (for much of the fall) Julianne Viviano.
Yet CNS had made it this far, going to Swan Pond to knock off no. 3 seed Fayetteville-Manlius 2-0 in the quarterfinals on Oct. 24. What’s more, it was rested, as compared to CBA, who had to wait until last Monday to complete its 2-0 quarterfinal win over Auburn after heavy pain postponed the original meeting.
And the Northstars got off to the right start, going up 1-0 less than six minutes into the game when Viviano belted a free kick into the net. CBA didn’t stay down for too long, though, tying it in the 29th minute when Kara Modliszewski headed Chloe Zmolek’s corner kick past goalie Chelsea Dunay.
In particular, the CNS defense struggled with CBA’s speed and skill, especially in the second half when it had the cold 20 mile-per-hour wind at its back.
When Zmolek banked a shot off the left post into the net in the 52nd minute, CNS trailed, 2-1, and it got to 3-1 six minutes later when Alexis Koval made one of those runs and crushed a shot that Dunay had no chance of stopping.
Bottled up for a while, CNS needed some kind of spark. It came in the 62nd minute from Taylor D’Alfonso, who burst open and, taking a feed from Rachel Bowles, crushed a shot inside the left post to score and cut it to 3-2, with plenty of time left.
As snow started to fly at Nottingham, the Northstars appeared doomed as regulation time wound down. But with 2:03 left, a CBA defender got mixed up with goalie Ashley Walsh out of position, allowing Kayla Pickard to swoop in and poke the ball into the unoccupied net.
So they went to overtime tied, 3-3. Twice in the first of two 10-minute extra periods, Dunay made spectacular saves on Caitlin McConnell’s point-blank shots. But with 39.1 seconds left in that period, McConnell got another open look — and converted.
Down a goal, CNS got one great chance in the second OT with the wind at its back and the snow falling harder. From 25 yards out, Viviano took a free kick — but hit it right into the face of Zmolek, standing on the CBA wall. Zmolek would be okay, and the Northstars would never get as good a look again.
Overall, the Northstars finished at 11-5-3. Viviano, Pickard, Myles, Linda Zajac and Rachel Geruso will graduate, but Dunay, Bowles, Taylor D’Alfonso, Coreena D’Alfonso, Taylor Zelenyak, Shelby Monteyuans, Katie Jachim and Aubrey Harris return next fall, so the Northstars should remain a potent contender as it pursues a third sectional title in five years in 2009.
CBA now will try and topple top seed Baldwinsville in Friday’s Class AA final at Chittenango at 7:30. The Bees edged past LIverpool 1-0 in the other snow-filled semifinal clash.