Oct 31, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Few who follow boys soccer at Jamesville-DeWitt or Christian Brothers Academy will recall a single evening as memorable as what took place in Wednesday night’s Section III Class A semifinals.
On one side, the Red Rams stunned undefeated, state no. 1-ranked Fowler 2-0 at Chittenango High School, while on the other side the Brothers survived penalty kicks to get past Watertown after those two sides played to a 1-1 tie at Liverpool High School Stadium.
It sets up a rare sectional final Saturday at 5 p.m. at LHS Stadium between the two neighboring schools. J-D and CBA share space in the OHSL Freedom division in multiple sports, but usually go their separate ways when the post-season starts.
That won’t happen here, in large part due to what J-D pulled off. Fowler not only was the defending sectional champions and carrying a perfect 17-0 record, it had also beaten the Red Rams 2-0 in their lone regular-season meeting on Sept. 24.
But J-D, the no. 4 seed, was a much better team now, having won six in a row going into the Fowler rematch, one that carried high emotion since one of the Rams’ players, Luca Pelligra, is the son of Falcons head coach Chris Pelligra. On this night, the son would prevail.
A key to it all was the way J-D’s defense played in the game’s early stages, never letting Fowler establish its potent attack while also getting its fair share of chances on the other end.
Then Adam Resetarits, J-D’s leading goal-scorer, found some space in the 28th minute and, from 25 yards out, drilled a hard left-footed shot that eluded Fowler goalie Abdullah Abdulkareema and found the top left corner of the net, and gave the Rams a 1-0 lead.
From there, J-D’s defense doubled its efforts, especially in the second half, when John Maroney and his fellow back-line players surrounded goalie Morgan Sawyer and turned back everything the determined Falcons threw at them.
Late in regulation, the Rams tried to relieve the pressure, and Jordan VanStry, picking up a pass from the back, outran Fowler defenders and then chipped a shot over Abdulkareem’s head and into the unoccupied net for the clincher.
Minutes later, J-D had the win – and they soon found out that CBA would join them, but only after a harrowing battle with Watertown, a no. 3 seed that proved its worth on this night.
Liam Price scored for the Brothers in the first half, assisted by Matt Stedman. Watertown got on the board, too, as Tyrell Thomas scored off Brad McKinney’s feed.
And it would stay 1-1 through the rest of the half, and then through a scoreless second half, plus 30 minutes of sudden-death overtime. Both sides had all kinds of chances to break the tie, but could not pull it off.
So it would get decided through penalty kicks – and this on the same Liverpool turf where, one year earlier, Fowler beat CBA in a similar shoot-out in the sectional final to advance to the state tournament.
Brothers goalie Mike Smith, back from a fractured jaw that sidelined him late in the season, would stop the first and third shots he faced. Meanwhile, four straight CBA players – Steve Castellini, Zach Zajdel, Monte Stroman and Alex Chrisman – put shots past Cyclones keeper Noah Taylor, and sent CBA to the sectional final.