Just as was the case for their female counterparts, the Jamesville-DeWitt and East Syracuse-Minoa boys soccer teams are set for a showdown in the Section III Class A semifinals.
The top-seeded, defending champion Red Rams opened its quest for back-to-back sectional titles on Friday, ousting no. 8 seed Carthage 2-0, one day after the no. 5 seed Spartans won a 2-1, double-overtime decision over no. 4 seed Indian River in its quarterfinal.
Of the two, ESM had far more tension surrounding its contest, and it had the extra difficulty of having to prevail on the road after a long bus trip into the north country.
Still, the Spartans controlled the flow of play in the first half, keeping the Warriors pinned in its own end. It didn’t lead to any goals, though, and IR’s Erick Torres broke though and converted just before the break to put the hosts up 1-0.
ESM kept its patience, and in the second half Jeremy Barbuto, off a feed from Jarrett Temple, put home the tying goal in the 65th minute. It would stay 1-1 through the rest of regulation and the first of two 15-minute, sudden-victory overtime periods.
One more OT remained before a possible penalty-kick shoot-out, but ESM made sure it never got that far. Less than three minutes into the second extra period, Barbuto’s pass found Senid Hakic, who headed it home for the game-winner.
No extra period was required for J-D against Carthage. Coming off its lone defeat of the regular season (1-0 in overtime to Baldwinsville on Oct. 22), the Rams turned to a familiar method to eliminate the Comets.
It started with defense, as the quartet of Dan Canfield, Eric Nuss, Jesse Evensky and Anthony Epifani broke up Carthage’s attacks, and kept the work light for goalie Nate Sturgeon, who only had to make three saves.
Meanwhile, on the offensive end J-D would convert once in each half, all that it needed. Tom Lukow recorded his team-best 13th goal, while Jimmy Fazio had his 11th goal. Canfield and Pablo Martinez got credit for the assists.
In the semifinal, J-D (14-1-1) will try again to get past an ESM (11-5-1) side it fought past 1-0 back on Oct. 4, with the winner to draw Oneida or Fulton in the championship game.