Even with a complete turnover of its starting lineup, the Chittenango girls soccer team is not discounting its chances for the 2013 season.
The Bears, after dipping down to the OHSL Liberty division, are back in the Freedom division this fall, meaning encounters with neighbors like Jamesville-DeWitt and East Syracuse-Minoa, plus other opponents like CBA and Fulton.
Chittenango does so without 10 departed seniors, plus a junior who transferred out of the district, but it didn’t seem to bother coach Brian Brzuszkiewicz’s Bears in last Tuesday’s season opener against Cortland as it battled past the Purple Tigers 1-0.
One of the Bears’ more experienced hands, Lauren Billington, gave her side an ideal start with a goal just three minutes into the game, taking a feed from Kayla Bain and putting it home.
And the rest fell to a tough Chittenango defense. For more than 75 minutes of game time, the Bears’ back line turned back every Cortland challenge, and when that didn’t happen, goalkeeper Katy Myka snared them, to the tune of nine saves.
Much the same thing happened in Thursday’s game at Mexico, only this time the Bears doubled the output as it pushed past the Tigers by a 2-0 margin.
Again, Chittenango notched a single goal in the first half, but not content with that 1-0 margin, it found the net once more in the second half, applying constant pressure on Mexico’s defense.
Though Tigers goalie Sabrina Adams made 15 saves, she did bend a bit as Bain and Ali Cerio both netted goals, with Billington contributing an assist. Mexico had a fair amount of chances, too, but Myka again pulled off a shutout, stopping all seven shots she faced.
That was a better opening result than Chittenango’s boys side, who began at Cortland last Tuesday and found the scoreboard, but not enough in a 5-2 defeat to the Purple Tigers.
Joe Murray and Connor Martin found the net for the Bears, with Jadin Nourse picking up an assist, but that couldn’t make up for a defense that struggled to stop Cortland’s attack. Justin Prentice and Scott Schenkler each scored twice for the Purple Tigers to overcome Dane Johnson’s nine saves.
Both of Chittenango’s soccer teams host the Fall Classic this weekend, after the boys play Mexico and J-D and the girls Bears take its own shot at the Red Rams, plus have a game against East Syracuse-Minoa.