J-D, who had grown quite accustomed to getting every opponent’s best shot as defending league and sectional champions, had the same experience at Chittenango.
The Bears had a pair of great early chances, but when one of them got halted, Paige Sherling tore downfield and, following a pair of deft passes, put in the game’s first goal. That 1-0 margin held up the rest of the half, the Rams maintaining control of the ball.
Midway through the second half, it was still 1-0, Caroline Kopp having just missed on a hard shot early in the half, but in the 63rd minute Alex Epifani found the net, having flashed open thanks to a nice pass from Alex Catanzarite.
That goal turned out to be the game-winner, for Chittenango pulled within one on Sara Pierce’s goal with 44.4 seconds left off Lauren Billington’s corner kick. The Bears could not follow that up in the little time that remained, though.
While all that was going on, East Syracuse-Minoa went through a tough week of competition, starting with last Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat to Homer.
Led by Julie Steinhauer, who would score twice, and Marissa Greiner, who got the other goal, ESM went up 2-1 on the Trojans by halftime.
But the Spartans’ defense got run over in the latter stages as Homer got goals from Carolyne Yonta, Haley Day, Kim Dieroff and Lisa Sharpe, with Yonta adding a pair of assists. Each of Nadine Downing’s seven saves (two more than Amanda Goodhines) would prove important.
Recovering two days later, ESM rolled past Mexico 5-1, a game that had some early doubt thanks to Amylyn Holland scoring in the first half to keep the Tigers within 2-1 at the break.
But ESM got away in the second half, spreading its production around. Sarah Britton scored twice, while Greiner, Ashley Scalzo and Haley Lighton earned one goal apiece. Caitlin Gagen notched a pair of assists as Lauren Ott and Natalie O’Brien got single assists.