Nov 02, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In a complete and overwhelming manner, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls soccer team dismissed everyone in its path and earned its first Section III Class AA championship since 2007.
And the top-seeded Northstars saved the best performance for Friday night’s title game at SUNY-Cortland, overwhelming no. 2 seed Baldwinsville 3-0 behind two goals from Reid Garner and a late tally from Hanna Haven.
In three post-season wins – over West Genesee, Fayetteville-Manlius and B’ville – C-NS never allowed a goal, and went from overcoming major nerves early in the sectional tournament to showing poise and confidence as the stages – and stakes – grew larger.
A little bit of motiviation doesn’t hurt, either. C-NS clearly remembered that the Bees beat them 3-2 in their only regular-season meeting on Sept. 18 at Archie Hall Stadium, and were not about to let B’ville stop them again with a championship on the line.
Just 8:18 into the contest, Reid Garner, who had hit the crossbar with a shot just a minute earlier, took a pass from Stephanie Liberati and, from 25 yards out, fit a shot just inside the left post and past B’ville goalie Jaclyn Hingre.
Though the Bees could make occasional runs in the early going, it mostly found itself playing defense as C-NS’s quick group of midfielders kept streaking into B’ville’s end, forcing opportunities.
Hanna Haven, quiet through most of the post-season, had a lot to do with the goal in the 21st minute that made it 2-0. Her long run forced a corner kick, and then Haven dropped it to the middle, where Garner buried it in the net.
From there, the game turned into a futile chase for B’ville. Any time it tried to move the ball into the Northstars’ end, defenders Sam Foley, Mary Kate Ordway, Chloe Lonergan and Meghan Duffy snuffed it out.
The Bees would take just five shots and earn three corner kicks. Every time, those chances were turned back, Alyssa Jim only having to make four saves for her third straight playoff shutout.
Hingre, meanwhile, recorded 12 saves, doing all she could to keep B’ville within range. C-NS never sat on its lead, though, and Haven offered a clincher with 34 seconds left, finding the net off a pass from Garner, who was named the game’s MVP.
C-NS now waits to see if it will face Niskayuna or Saratoga Springs in next Saturday’s Class AA regional final at Stillwater High School, located east of Albany. Prevail in that game, and the Northstars will get a chance to return to the Cortland-Homer area for the Nov. 15-16 state final four.
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