Not in many places would something like a third consecutive Section III championship be seen as a stepping stone.
Then again, the Jamesville-DeWitt girls soccer team wants much more than the Class A title it snared again Friday night in a 3-0 shutout of Whitesboro at Chittenango High School.
Each of the last two times the Red Rams claimed sectional honors, it could not get past Section II champion Burnt Hills in the regional round. Now J-D heads to that realm to face Burnt Hills again, convinced that it will be different on the third try.
One main reason, according to head coach Hayley Nies, is that "Tessa Devereaux is a senior."
Indeed, Devereaux, the scorer of more than 100 career goals at J-D and headed for Stony Brook University, does not want it to end after a sectional final where her two goals sent the Rams toward another sectional banner.
"It feels great for the moment," said Devereaux. "But we just don't want that (a regional loss) to happen again."
Whitesboro can certainly testify to J-D's quality, having lost to them 6-1 in last year's sectional title game at SUNY-Cortland. Here, on the Chittenango turf, the no. 2 seed Warriors, off a 7-1 semifinal rout of Fulton, were determined to turn things around.
Indeed, for much of the first half Whitesboro kept up with the Rams and got a series of scoring chances. However, Jenna Hayward, Caroline Kopp, Stephanie Mannion and the rest of J-D's experienced back line tightened up those early gaps, and gradually it began to build pressure on the other end.
"They (Whitesboro) had a lot of speed, but we adapted to it," said Nies.
Twice in the first half, Kopp hit free kicks off the crossbar, and both Devereaux and Jessica Holmes were thwarted in numerous charges.