Madison County rivals Chittenango and Cazenovia got together Saturday in a girls soccer showdown on the Bears’ home turf.
And it proved a close, exciting contest, in doubt until the very end – but the Bears would prevail in a 1-0 decision.
Through the first half, Cazenovia put on a relentless attack, unable to convert. It remained true in the latter stages, Chittenango continually offering resistance and getting a remarkable effort from Sierra Shafer, who stopped all 23 shots she faced.
And as so often happens in soccer, the team playing defense most of the way came out on top, as Sara Pierce notched an unassisted goal that, for the Bears, stood up.
Chittenango opened its season last Tuesday, when it ran into Christian Brothers Academy – or more specifically, Eva Gordon – and fell to the Brothers 3-0.
Following an 11-5-2 campaign where it reached the Class A semifinals before falling to Whitesboro, the Bears had to see Section III All-Star Jenna Barber exit.
Without her, Chittenango’s offense could not get much started, only managing two shots. Meanwhile, Sierra Shafer had 14 saves, but could not prevent Gordon from scoring once in the first half and twice in the second half for a hat trick.
However, the Bears made a quick recovery on Thursday and earned its first win of the season, shutting out Fulton by that same 3-0 margin.
Kaitlin Antelmi helped Chittenango pull away from a modest 1-0 halftime margin, scoring one goal and assisting on the other two, by Kelsey Busse and Katrina Faraci. Shafer protected that margin, too, stopping all 12 shots she faced.
Long before this, Cazenovia opened at home against Cortland on Sept. 1 and took a 3-1 loss to the Purple Tigers.
Following a scoreless first half, Cortland took over in the late stages as Rachel Prentice, with one goal and one assist, led the visitors. Kayla Dorrance had the Lakers' lone tally. Jamie Enders recorded five saves.