J-D girls soccer edges F-M in opener

Rams return nine starters from team that reached 2012 state final

— The last sight of Jamesville-DeWitt’s girls soccer team was on the turf at SUNY-Cortland, with the Red Rams having reached the state Class A championship game for the first time in the program’s history last November.

Of course, the only way J-D could improve on 2012 was to go all the way and win the state title, and that’s a realistic goal for head coach Hayley Nies and her players this fall.

Even though long-time standouts Jessica Holmes and Maddy Devereaux are gone, each of the Rams’ other nine starters are back, including the entire back line of Maggie Austin, Caroline Kopp, Julia Slisz, Erin Brinley and Maddy Frank, plus goalkeeper Allie Butler, that played such a starring role in last fall’s post-season run.

And J-D’s attack, once centered on Holmes and Devereaux, should be fine, too, since talented sophomores Allie Balotin and Paige Sherling assume starring roles and new stars, like freshmen Alex Catanzarite and Sophia Dimkopoulos, enter the stage.

Just as in seasons past, the Rams played tough competition on opening weekend, hosting Fayetteville-Manlius Friday morning and needing to work all 80 minutes to earn a 2-1 victory over the Hornets.

F-M is coming off its own successful 2012 season, having made it to the Section III Class AA final by upending top seed Baldwinsville in a penalty-kick shootout before dropping the title game to Liverpool.

And though stars like Cheyenne Hall and Nina Quigley graduated, plenty of talent remains on hand – including Alexis Muraco, who nearly put F-M in front of J-D midway through a scoreless first half when her long-range shot clanged off the crossbar.

Deep into the second half, it remained 0-0, the Hornets playing on fairly even terms with the Rams and getting solid performances from a new-look defense and Quigley’s successor at goalkeeper, Alex Lunderman.

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