ESM girls earn shot at J-D in sectional final

Spartans blank Camden; Red Rams handle Whitesboro

— 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.

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