Two different Chittenango soccer teams plunged into the rough waters of the Section III Class A playoffs on Thursday. Only one was still swimming when the night was done.
The girls Bears, despite a no. 6 seed, went to no. 3 seed Camden and required a superb effort in the net from Brigid St. Leger to fight past the Blue Devils 1-0.
Camden had accumulated a strong 12-4 record within the rugged Tri-Valley League, and it spent most of the first half camped out in Chittenango's end, putting together a series of coordinated attacks.
Much of the time, St. Leger would charge up and grab the shots, or she would catch the ball on long-range attempts. Only in the midway point of the half did St. Leger appear beaten, but Karly Keil's point-blank shot sailed just over the net.
Other than Kaitlin Antelmi failing to get a good foot on a point-blank opportunity in the 20th minute, Chittenango remained in defensive mode, absorbing 13 shots in that opening half while taking just four - but it remained 0-0.
Needing to attack more, the Bears did so early in the second half, and nearly took the lead in the 53rd minute as Jenna Barber's shot banged off the crossbar. Meanwhile, St. Leger kept on making stops, running her save total to 16 before it was done.
With slightly more than 12 minutes to play in regulation, Chittenango earned a throw-in near the Blue Devils' net. Barber took possession, then offered a nice feed to Antelmi - whose shot eluded Camden goalie Cassilyn Woolf and found the net.
The Bears (11-4-2) hung on, and advanced to face no. 2 seed Whitesboro (a 2-0 winner over New Hartford) in the Class A semifinals. The winner meets Jamesville-DeWitt or Cortland for the sectional title.