Jamesville-DeWitt senior midfielder Maddy Devereaux (3) clears the ball out of her own end in Tuesday night's Class A regional game against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. The Red Rams won, 1-0, avenging three straight regional defeats to the Spartans.
Timothy Van Camp Jr.
The fourth time around, Jamesville-DeWitt's girls soccer team finally turned back the nemesis that kept it from further advancement in the state Class A playoffs.
The Red Rams, beaten three straight years by Section II power Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the regional round, nabbed an early goal in Tuesday night's regional game at Fulton and, with superb defense, held on to beat the Spartans 1-0.
"It was meant to be," said J-D goalkeeper Allison Butler. "It's so great to get that win. Everyone played their hearts out."
That was especially true of the Red Rams' back line. Under continual attack from BH-BL, especially in the first half, J-D turned everything away and got some of the good fortune that eluded them each of the previous three times they played the Spartans.
"Our defense was scrappy," said J-D head coach Hayley Nies. "They're a good group, and their chemistry is awesome."
That group in question is junior Maggie Austin, along with sophomores Caroline Kopp, Maddy Frank and Julia Slisz. Their combined work helped save J-D in a 1-0 victory over Whitesboro in the Section III final, and the regional game followed the exact same pattern.
And that included an early goal, although this one was not a mistake from the opposition. Just 8:22 into the game, the Rams made a rare attack and, off a pass from Alex Fontana, freshman Paige Sherling drilled a 20-yard shot past Spartans goalie Florie Comley.
That the Rams kept the margin in the first half was close to miraculous. BH-BL took 14 shots in the half, and four of them crashed off the goalpost or the crossbar, most of them from junior Morgan Burchardt.
Other times, though, Butler had to make point-blank stops, and when those saves accumulated, it led to frustration on the other end, something that really didn't manifest until the second half.