Favored to move deep into their respective Section III Class C playoffs, the Bishop Ludden soccer teams engaged in a series of exciting post-season battles late last week, winning them all.
For the Ludden girls team, who enjoyed the top seed in Class C-2, getting through last Thursday's quarterfinal against no. 8 seed Morrisville-Eaton proved to be a chore as some late goals produced a 2-0 victory over the Warriors.
All through the night, the Gaelic Knights rushed into M-E's end in a series of well-coordinated attacks, just waiting for the right moment to pull out in front.
The Warriors would not let it happen, though, as its defense put up a courageous effort and goalie Kim Horton proved spectacular, making 20 saves, many of them difficult ones.
By contrast, Ludden keeper Meaghan McGrath had four saves, but they were all difficult stops, and made home fans nervous as the Gaelic Knights somehow stayed patient.
Finally, as regulation time wound down, Ludden teammates Ashley Cianfriglia and Grace Rooney both pushed shots past Horton, accounting for the final margin.
Just two days later, Ludden faced no. 4 seed Beaver River in the C-2 semifinals at Utica Proctor's D'Alessandro Stadium, this after the Beavers needed a penalty-kick shoot-out to survive Onondaga in its quarterfinal.
Sensing, perhaps, that Beaver River was worn out by that previous round, Ludden pushed the tempo and, fighting the wind and rain, prevailed again by a score of 2-0.
For the eighth straight game, the Gaelic Knights put together a shutout, its defense locking down the Beavers' attack at every turn, holding them to just two shots, both of which McGrath stopped.
Meanwhile, Ludden used a patient attack to pull out in front, with one goal in each half. Both times, Cianfriglia got credit for assists, as Rooney and Kim Balla earned the goals.