For all the concerns and crises faced by a young and sometimes unproven roster, the Baldwinsville girls soccer team might be rounding into peak form just when it needs it the most.
The Bees’ return to the Section III Class AA playoffs comes amid a series of confidence-building efforts, including last Tuesday night’s tough 1-0 victory over another playoff-bound side, West Genesee, at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.
This proved an active contest from the start, both sides engaging in plenty of runs to the net. When Jade Gentile scored in the first half off a feed from Kelly Pinkerton, it didn’t look like that would be the lone goal of the night.
B’ville kept pushing hard, but got nothing more past Rebecca Rothenberg, as WG’s goalie recorded 20 saves. At the same time, though, B’ville’s defense remained resolute, especially during the Wildcats’ second-half flurry as it could not tie things up, Jaclyn Hingre stopping all 13 shots she faced during the night.
When the Bees hosted another possible post-season opponent, Auburn, on Friday afternoon, it had one of its most impressive efforts of the entire season, breaking out on the offensive end and defeating the Maroons 6-2.
Isabella May proved to be the catalyst as B’ville broke out to a 4-1 halftime edge, not stopping until she had recorded a three-goal hat trick.
And May had plenty of help, too, as Gentile and Hailey Couchman both picked up one goal and one assist, while Logan Hornsey also had a goal and Stephanie Roberts picked up an assist. The Bees overwhelmed an Auburn defense where goali Ally Nicolisi had to make 19 saves.
B’ville drew a favorable no. 3 seed for the Section III Class AA playoffs, away from top seed Cicero-North Syracuse and two-time defending champion Liverpool, who is the no. 5 seed.
Instead, the Bees get to host a rematch with Auburn, the no. 6 seed, in the quarterfinals Wednesday night, just five days after they had first met. A win would give B’ville a semifinal against Rome Free Academy or CBA.