Nov 03, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Two neighbors, Jamesville-DeWitt and East Syracuse-Minoa, will battle for the Section III Class A girls soccer championship as the result of a pair of dramatic semifinal matches on Tuesday night.
The Red Rams, as the no. 2 seed, were expected to get there, and got past no. 3 seed Watertown 1-0 at Chittenango High School’s turf.
On the other hand, the Spartans’ surprising run as a no. 8 seed continued as it dethroned two-time defending champion Cortland in a penalty-kick shoot-out at Henninger High School’s Sunnycrest Field after they played to a 0-0 draw.
Already, ESM had knocked off top seed Whitesboro in the quarterfinals in a 3-2 overtime game, propelled by Allyson Rossi’s three-goal hat trick.
Cortland, if nothing else, was bent on making sure Rossi didn’t find open space. Thus, throughout the night, the Purple Tigers’ defense put two defenders on the ESM star, and it proved effective.
Meanwhile, the Spartans were forced to play lots of defense as Cortland owned most of the scoring opportunities. On two occasions, ESM caught breaks, as a possible Purple Tiger goal in the last minute of the first half got disallowed for a handball, and late in regulation a shot by Alexis Keeney crashed off the crossbar.
That it stayed 0-0 was a tribute to ESM’s defense as Julie Maselli, Lauren Greiner, Olivia Chopskie and Kelsey Temple worked from beginning to end, making sure Cortland did not pull in front.
So through 80 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime, neither side would score. Thus, a shoot-out, five penalty kicks per side, would decide who got to the finals.
Both of the stars – Cortland’s Aubrey VanGorder and ESM’s Rossi – converted in the first round. But in Cortland’s second turn, Taylor Reynolds hit the shot well over the net, and Rachel DeVona put ESM in front.
Two conversions followed, Danielle Steigerwald keeping the Spartans in the lead. In the fourth round, though, ESM goalie Casie Auricchio made the save, and when Olivia Chopskie scored, ESM, by a 4-2 margin, lived on.
Hours earlier, J-D survived its own battle with no. 3 seed Watertown, without the need for overtime or a shoot-out.
Even though it dominated the flow of play and had a majority of the scoring chances, J-D could not score in the first half and much of the second half, and the occasional counter-attack from the Cyclones exposed the danger of keeping the game at 0-0.
Finally, with 14:38 to play, the Red Rams broke through. Tessa Devereaux took the ball at the point, turned and dribbled and, from 20 yards out, fired a low shot past diving Watertown goalie Taylor Upton and into the right side of the net.
That margin would hold up, and J-D would play ESM. The Spartans have won six previous sectional championships, but the Red Rams are still in search of a first title, having lost last year’s final to Cortland.