East Syracuse A pair of early defeats left the Jamesville-DeWitt boys soccer team in an urgent mood going into Thursday night's game at East Syracuse-Minoa.
That urgency, and a desire to partially atone for the way the 2011 season ended, helped the Red Rams as a late offensive surge produced a 3-1 victory over the Spartans.
Every J-D veteran remembered that, last fall, a chance at back-to-back Section III Class A titles got thwarted when the Red Rams lost, 1-0, to ESM in the semifinal round - a defeat made more painful by the fact that the Spartans eventually won the sectional title and reached the state final four.
However, a shot at redemption appeared unlikely, since J-D had just taken back-to-back losses to Fowler and Homer, and ESM had started fast, including a 1-0 win over Christian Brothers Academy just two days before the Rams showed up.
Having struggled so much on the offensive side this season, J-D had to feel relief when, early in the first half, Jordan Van Stry scored, giving his side a 1-0 lead that would hold up the rest of the half.
Less than five minutes into the second half, ESM pulled even, 1-1, as it earned a free kick and, from 25 yards out, Emir Avdakovic launched a hard shot into the top of the net.
That was all J-D goalie Nate Sturgeon would allow. Sturgeon, back from an injury that sidelined him for a couple of games, and the rest of the Rams' back line would face all sorts of tests, but hold up.
With 12:13 to play, it was still 1-1 when J-D built a challenge in front of ESM goalie Cameron Schiavone. Twice in a span of seconds, shots went off the goal posts - one left, one right - but Mike Mulvilhill, who took the second shot, got it back and, with Schiavone out of position, put in the go-ahead goal.