Nov 04, 2012 Kris Russell Uncategorized
No matter how tough it was to watch at times, the Liverpool girls soccer team sure found it beautiful when there was another Section III Class AA championship waiting at the end.
The Warriors successfully defended its AA title with a 1-0 championship-game triumph over Fayetteville-Manlius Saturday night at Chittenango High School.
Kyla Bills scored the game winner in the 14th minute, and the no. 2 seed Warriors’ defense did the rest, earning a date in the reigonal finals next Saturday at 5:30 at Fulton against one of two Section II powers, state no. 1-ranked Niskayuna or Bethlehem.
Bills’ tally came from a Warriors corner. Alyssa Bittel took the kick, and Emma Geyer headed it into the F-M six yard box. The Hornets’ clearance went right to Bills who slammed the ball home at 13:48.
Instead of Liverpool building on its lead, it was almost one way traffic the other way. F-M created several clear-cut chances, but converted none in the opening 40 minutes.
Both coaches knew who had the better of play after Bills’ goal.
“It thought we were very fortunate in the first half to get out of there up 1-0,” Liverpool coach Kevin McGrane said. “I don’t think we played our best soccer in the first half. The easily could have put two in on us. The good news is we were up 1-0. The bad news is we didn’t play very well.”
“I was disappointed in our finishing touch,” F-M coach Kory McMahon said. “We had a lot of opportunities in the first half. And (Liverpool) had the missed clear that bounced right to (Bills). That’s the only solid chance they had all game. But they cashed in on it. That’s soccer. We had a lot of breakaway opportunities and we put the ball either wide or right into the keeper’s hands.”
The second half didn’t feature much offense. The Warriors defense saw to that, easily snuffing out each F-M foray over midfield to maintain that one-goal margin.
“Defensively I thought we played really well,” McGrane said. “At halftime I said (to the players) ‘look we don’t need to score any more to win as long we don’t allow one.’ I thought we did enough defensively all throughout the field.”
“In the second half Liverpool did just a lot of long clearing balls so we never had a chance to really progress and get the ball to feet,” McMahon said. “Liverpool did a nice job of keeping it out of harm’s way.”
McMahon’s fourth ranked squad finished 11-4-3. They also came home Section III runner-up for the third time in four years.
“We’re doing the right things (and) we’re consistent,” he said. “I think one of the things we could work on is physical strength. We’re getting pushed off the ball a lot. We’ve got the ball skills. We’ve got the game strategy. We’ve just got to be a little stronger.”
McGrane enjoyed this title as much as last year’s.
“They’re both sweet, no matter what,” he said. “I think this year’s team has gone through a lot more. Losing Julia Heberger, our starting center midfield last year, to (a knee injury) in our second game of the year. The girls really stepped it up around that. They really played outstanding.”
A win on Saturday would send Liverpool to the state Class AA final four, which takes place Nov. 16-17 in the Cortland/Homer area.