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J-D girls soccer reaches first-ever state final four

Red Rams rally past Massena, 2-1, in regional final

Jamesville-DeWitt girls soccer teammates Maddy Devereaux, left, and Jessica Holmes celebrate Saturday's 2-1 victory over Massena in the Class A regional final. Devereaux and Holmes, part of all four of J-D's sectional championship teams, scored the goals in the second half that sent the Red Rams to its first-ever state final four.

Jamesville-DeWitt girls soccer teammates Maddy Devereaux, left, and Jessica Holmes celebrate Saturday's 2-1 victory over Massena in the Class A regional final. Devereaux and Holmes, part of all four of J-D's sectional championship teams, scored the goals in the second half that sent the Red Rams to its first-ever state final four. Timothy Van Camp Jr.

Simply put, the two Jamesville-DeWitt girls soccer seniors responsible for four straight Section III Class A titles did not want to leave until they experienced the state final four.

With the Red Rams trailing Massena in Saturday's Class A regional final at SUNY-Canton, Jessica Holmes and Maddy Devereaux took over and made the crucial scoring plays that led to a 2-1 victory over the Red Raiders.

By prevailing, J-D advances to next Saturday's state semifinal at SUNY-Cortland, where it will face Section V champion Brighton at 5 p.m. The championship game is next Sunday at 4 p.m. on that same Cortland turf.

It had appeared that the Rams cleared its biggest hurdle back on Tuesday when it knocked off Section II power Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 1-0 in the first round of the regional playoffs, avenging three straight regional defeats to the Spartans.

But as it turned out, Massena was far from an easy mark. Through a scoreless first half, J-D was passive, unable to do much against a stubborn Red Raiders defense.

Then the urgency grew five minutes into the second half, when Massena's Dominique Valancius slipped a shot past J-D goalie Allie Butler. It was the first time the Rams had allowed a goal since the sectional semifinals against Camden.

Instead of panicking, though, the Rams continued to probe - and broke through in the 59th minute when Holmes, from the right side, crushed a hard shot that slipped out of the Massena goalie's hands and found the net, tying it 1-1.

In the 66th minute, J-D attacked again. This time, it was Devereaux finding space just outside the penalty area and, from 20 yards out, ripping in the go-ahead goal.

J-D's defense, so strong throughout the post-season prevented Massena from getting back even, and the Red Rams, for the first time in the program's history, have made it to the final weekend of the season.

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