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J-D wins fifth straight girls soccer sectional title

Red Rams survive long OT duel with ESM, 1-0

Jamesville-DeWitt's girls soccer team won its fifth consecutive Section III Class A championship Saturday night at SUNY-Cortland when it defeated East Syracuse-Minoa 1-0 in three overtimes, prevailing on Paige Sherling's goal at the end of the third OT. The Red Rams will face Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in Tuesday's regional playoff game.

Jamesville-DeWitt's girls soccer team won its fifth consecutive Section III Class A championship Saturday night at SUNY-Cortland when it defeated East Syracuse-Minoa 1-0 in three overtimes, prevailing on Paige Sherling's goal at the end of the third OT. The Red Rams will face Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in Tuesday's regional playoff game. Timothy Van Camp Jr.

Half a decade ago, the question was simply about whether the Jamesville-DeWitt girls soccer team would ever win a Section III Class A championship.

Now, the Red Rams have five consecutive sectional titles on the ledger, none of them more dramatically earned than Saturday night's 1-0, triple-overtime decision over East Syracuse-Minoa in the Class A final at SUNY-Cortland.

From 2009, when it finally broke through and beat ESM 4-0 for that first sectional crown, to the trio of title-game wins over Whitesboro in each of the next three years, J-D was able to win without going beyond the 80 minutes of regulation.

But that changed here as ESM, whose last title came in 1997, tried to complete an unlikely journey from a no. 7 seed all the way to the championship.

Having taken J-D to overtime two months ago at ESM Stadium (the Rams won that game 2-1 on Sept. 3, plus a 3-1 rematch three weeks later), the Spartans knew all the ways in which the four-time champs would attack them.

And that led to a superb defensive effort that covered more than 100 minutes of game time on a wet, cold evening in Cortland. ESM's back line kept thwarting J-D at every turn, managing to keep the game 0-0 throughout the first half, and then the second half as Amanda Goodhines only had to make five saves.

As the game wore on, the pressure on the Rams grew. But its experienced back line, anchored by Maggie Austin, Caroline Kopp, Maddy Frank and Julia Slisz, kept ESM frustrated, too, as goalie Allie Butler gathered up four saves.

Regulation didn't settle the game, and nor did 20 minutes of standard overtime, played out in full. Now they would play a pair of five-minute sudden-victory periods, and if it stayed 0-0, J-D and ESM would share the sectional title, and use penalty kicks to determine who went into the state tournament.

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