Nov 18, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
What was already a historic season for the Jamesville-DeWitt girls soccer team would feel complete if it could claim a first state Class A championship.
But an opponent with a trove of titles to its credit, South Side, prevented the Red Rams from realizing its ultimate dream, prevailing 2-0 in Sunday’s Class A state final at SUNY-Cortland.
Even with the defeat, head coach Hayley Nies said her players went far beyond what anyone imagined they would do.
“You hope it happens one time,” said Nies. “This year, everything lined up for us. It’s a huge accomplishment. I’m happy with what we did.”
Nies’ senior captain, Maddy Devereaux, agreed. “We didn’t have high expectations at all,” she said. “Making it all the way here is something for which we should hold our heads up.”
The difference in what these programs have accomplished to date was vast. J-D, playing in its first-ever state title game, was trying to upend a South Side squad from Rockville Centre, Long Island, that had previously won 16 state championships, more than any other girls soccer program in New York.
To pull this off, the Red Rams had to count on the same tough, relentless and consistent defense that had brought them this far, because the Cyclones intended to attack from the moment the game kicked off.
That’s exactly what South Side did, unleashing a series of efficient, accurate passes in a series of early pushes to the net. The Rams deftly turned away those early looks, but the Cyclones kept attacking, J-D rarely able to make its own runs.
In the 15th minute, South Side made another push, and a pass from the left side by Christina Klaum got mishandled by J-D’s back line, and when goalie Allison Butler tried to grab it, Michaela Lynch poked it past her into the net, and the Cyclones led 1-0.
The Rams tried to pick up its attack, but found it difficult against the speed and skill that South Side displayed all over the field, scrambling to every open space even when J-D was in the Cyclones’ end.
J-D only had two corner kicks, at the beginning and end of the first half, but could not convert either of them, and the Rams went to the break still trailing by that 1-0 margin.
As the second half commenced, J-D tried again to apply pressure, but it soon reverted back to the earlier trend of South Side moving the ball around and making J-D chase them, which wasn’t a way to catch up.
Still, in the 53rd minute the Rams nearly pulled even. Jessica Holmes dribbled her way around two defenders and drove in from the right side, alone, but McCarthy somehow made a sliding point-blank save.
Then Devereaux got a chance with a free kick from 25 yards out in the 58th minute, but hit it over the net.
“We had our chances and opportunities,” said Nies.
All of those missed chances mattered more when, in the 61st minute, Klaum, off a feed from Lynch, charged in from the left and sent a blistering left-footed shot that eluded Butler and doubled South Side’s margin to two.
That proved too much to overcome. But J-D’s season remains a milestone – and perhaps a hint of greater things ahead, since Holmes and Devereaux are the lone graduating seniors and everyone else could come back in 2013.