Sep 24, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Kory McMahon will be the first person to admit that the Fayetteville-Manlius girls soccer team he coaches is a bit erratic in its behavior.
One day, the Hornets are disinterested and flat, losing in Oswego to an opponent sporting a 1-5-1 record. The next, F-M is back home, motivated and confident, sending unbeaten Baldwinsville to its first defeat of the season.
This complete turnaround had its full manifestation last Tuesday night at Swan Pond, where the Hornets, led by a revived Mary Hartzheim, stunned the Bees 2-1.
Perhaps looking ahead to B’ville’s challenge, the Hornets, on Sept. 18, had taken that 3-1 loss at Oswego, giving up a trio of goals in the first 15 minutes and spending the rest of the game in a futile catch-up bid.
Burned by that bad showing, F-M now came home to deal with B’ville. Not only were the Bees 8-0, it had not even allowed a goal in any of those games, a fierce defensive effort that had made them the early-line Class AA championship favorites.
Switching up its defense, the Hornets moved midfielder Bri Dolan to the back line. As sweeper, Dolan eyed the field, flanking defenders like Julia Reagan, Mary Beth Anagnost and Ali Pliszka as they shut down whatever B’ville tried to establish in the first half.
Just getting to halftime 0-0 appeared to be enough of a triumph. To that point, the Hornets had a fair share of possessions in Bees territory, but few good shots.
That all changed 1:08 into the second half. Jordan Monteleone made a strong run down the left, then fired a perfect cross to the center where, in a crowd, Hartzheim stuck out her foot and powered a shot past Bees goalie Casey Chiesa. It was the first goal B’ville had allowed all season.
McMahon said that Hartzheim had been quiet for much of the season on the offensive front, and that she picked a great time to make a loud statement.
F-M continued to play superb defense. Rachel D’Hollander had to dive to stop Emma Firenze’s drive to the net just after Hartzheim converted, then tipped Ali Nagle’s long free kick over the net in the 59th minute.
The Hornets didn’t lay back in a defensive mode as time wound down. With 7:24 left, Erika Davin charged down the left side with the ball, then crossed to the middle. Once again, Hartzheim struck, her shot zooming into the left side of the net to make it 2-0.
That goal was needed. With 4:06 to play, Nicole Close nudged Nagle’s long free kick into the net, and the Bees waged an all-out assault in the last minutes. D’Hollander stood tall, especially when she stopped Jen Fabian point-blank with a diving stop with 30 seconds left.
At 7-2-1 on the season, the Hornets hoped to avoid a letdown in Thursday night’s trip to Rome Free Academy as the Bees (8-1) came home to take on Auburn.