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ESM girls earn shot at J-D in sectional final

Spartans blank Camden; Red Rams handle Whitesboro

— 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.

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