Could the Jamesville-DeWitt and East Syracuse-Minoa girls soccer teams meet up later this week with a Section III Class A championship on the line?
That’s quite possible after the first week of sectional tournament play, where the no. 7 seed Spartans, taking full advantage of a favorable bracket, made it to the semifinal round to join the top-seeded Red Rams, who are after its fifth title in a row.
For ESM, the first obstacle was no. 10 seed Homer, who led early in last Tuesday night’s opening-round game before the Spartans, with well-timed goals, turned it around and pushed past the Trojans 3-1.
They had met twice in the regular season, ESM prevailing 3-0 on Sept. 12, but Homer claiming the rematch 4-3 on Oct. 8. In this third encounter, it was the Trojans grabbing a 1-0 lead on Kim Dieroff’s goal in the 15th minute, off a great feed from Mollie Ferrito.
All through the rest of the half, the Spartans had terrific chances to pull even, seeing Marissa Greiner push an open shot inches wide in the 24th minute and Ashley Scalzo brush another close-in shot off the right post late in the half.
But just 23.1 seconds before the break, Sarah Britton, taking a pass from Caitlin Gagen, hit a low shot past Homer goalie Nadine Downing, tying it 1-1 and shifting the momentum in ESM’s favor.
It remained tied until the 63rd minute, when two ninth-graders teamed up for the go-ahead goal, Claire Maring taking a pass from Greiner in the right corner and fitting a low shot just inside the left post, out of a diving Downing’s reach.
Homer went all-out trying to pull even in the homestretch, but ESM’s defense stayed calm and resisted all the charges, and then clinched it on Natalie O’Brien’s goal with 2:05 left, Gagen again earning the assist.