Nov 03, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Two results – one expected, the other quite unexpected – marked Wednesday night’s Section III Class AA semifinals at Nottingham High School.
Baldwinsville, the top seed and defending champions, suffered a 2-0 defeat to no. 4 seed Christian Brothers Academy, while no. 2 seed Liverpool did fight off the challenge of no. 6 seed West Genesee in a 1-0 decision.
Even though it had that no. 1 seed, B’ville was not a team at full strength. Season-ending injuries to Claire Monnat and Stephanie Lynch had drained the Bees of some of its depth, something that may have proved costly against a CBA side that rarely used substitutions from its starting 11.
Still, B’ville waged an all-out attack in the early going, testing the Brothers’ defenses. Somehow, back-line players like Gabby Carni, Aexa Radziewicz, Chloe Germain, Ariana Cavallaro and Jasmine Ehrich kept getting in front of the likes of Emma Firenze and Angelica Romeu, rarely giving them space near the net.
Also, CBA goalkeeper Lindsey Evans, who had replaced an injured Courtney Henderson in mid-season, stayed cool, keeping shots in front of her and deflecting the tougher ones wide. Her save on Firenze’s low shot midway through the second half was the best of her 11 stops.
By that point, the Brothers had a 1-0 lead. Early in the second half, Eva Gordon, on a counterattack, streaked toward the net and was fouled inside the 18-yard box. CBA got a penalty kick, which Michelle Wiese deposited into the left side of the net.
B’ville could not pull even, and with 13:10 left, CBA got a free kick. From 35 yards out, Gordon faked a shot, and Wiese followed with a crushing drive into the top left side of the net that Bees goalie Maggie Monnat had no chance to stop.
With that, plus more strong defense in the homestretch, CBA moved into the AA final – where another big challenge awaits from Liverpool, who controlled matters with West Genesee much more than the 1-0 margin would indicate.
Still, credit the Wildcats for not letting things get away, as it had when it lost to Liverpool 3-0 back on Sept. 13. Through a scoreless first half, WG’s defense, with four players in front of goalie Andrea Francisco, turned away all kinds of Warrior attacks. but rarely got its own chances to move forward.
Twice, Liverpool scoring attempts came within inches of working, as Kim Murphy’s screaming free kick late in the first half crashed off the crossbar and Ore Akinpelu’s shot early in the second half grazed off the left post.
Through all this, the Warriors stayed patient and waited to convert. Finally, in the 58th minute Murphy, working from the right side, fed a low cross to the middle, where Nikki Carfi waited and flicked it just past Francisco inside the right post.
Protecting that one-goal margin, Liverpool remained aggressive the rest of the way, rarely letting WG move the ball out of its own end. Francisco finished with 13 saves, while Warriors keeper Tori Corsaro only had to make five saves.
Liverpool and CBA will meet Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Fulton, with the winner to advance to the regional final against the Section II (Albany area) champion on Nov. 12.