Oct 30, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
This time around, someone different is lined up to try and end the Jamesville-DeWitt girls soccer team’s four-year reign as Section III Class A champions – someone right down the road from where the Red Rams reside.
That would be East Syracuse-Minoa, who has risen from its no. 7 seed to earn a shot at the sectional title with an inspired post-season run capped off Tuesday night, when the Spartans roared past no. 3 seed Camden 4-0 in the Class A semifinals at CBA’s Alibrandi Stadium.
This followed the other Class A semifinal, where top seed J-D coolly and patiently dispatched no. 4 seed Whitesboro 4-0 to earn yet another berth in the title game, where the Red Rams will meet ESM Saturday night at 7 p.m. at SUNY-Cortland.
Among the things the Spartans had learned in early-round Class A playoff wins over no. 10 seed Homer (3-1) and no. 2 seed Central Valley Academy (1-0) was that it was a whole lot easier to get things done if it could get on the board early.
Against a Camden side that required penalty kicks to get through its Class A quarterfinal with New Hartford on Oct. 24, ESM applied that lesson in the most emphatic manner possible, requiring less than 90 seconds to take a lead it would not relinquish.
To be precise, it took 1:26 for Sarah Britton to speed right through two Blue Devil defenders and beat Kiersten Leos for that 1-0 edge. From there, ESM settled in, continuing to attack, and right after Marissa Greiner hit the crossbar, Julie Steinhauer did find the net, and it was 2-0, where it stood at halftime.
Early in the second half, when Ashley Scalzo’s shot hit the post, Natalie O’Brien pounced on the rebound and beat Leos to make it 3-0. Britton offered the exclamation point with 2:35 left on a bending free kick that connected from nearly 30 yards out.
J-D doesn’t need a reminder of how tough ESM can be, for the Spartans pushed them to overtime on Sept. 3 before the Red Rams prevailed 2-1, though J-D did win in the return match 3-1 three weeks later.
In the last three years, though, the Rams had to beat Whitesboro in order to hang on to its sectional crown. That remained true in 2013, and though their showdown now took place in the semifinals, it had the same happy result for the J-D faithful.
Whitesboro’s defense was strong for much of the first half and kept the game 0-0 until Caroline Kopp, who has proven to be a prime force in the Rams’ attack late in the season, crushed a 35-yard shot that sailed just inside the crossbar and found the net in the 30th minute.
Helped by back-line mates Maggie Austin and Maddy Frank, Kopp and the J-D back line constantly kept the ball away from the Warriors’ attackers. That led to lots of chances for the Rams, as it took 19 shots to Whitesboro’s six.
Only once did the Warriors’ main threat, Mariah Williams, get a serious chance, as her shot early in the second half was on target, but smothered by J-D keeper Allie Butler.
Emile Mull, who finished with 12 saves, kept her team within sight, but the Rams’ pressure proved too much, and Alex Epifani deposited the clinching goal with 23 seconds left.