Aug 29, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Brent Ostrander finally gets his chance to coach high school soccer at the varsity level – on the girls side.
For nearly a quarter-century, Ostrander had led the Fayetteville-Manlius junior varsity boys soccer team, molding the players that the varsity team, under Jeff Hammond, would later take to a string of league and Section III titles.
But when the girls varsity soccer job at F-M opened up after Kory McMahon’s departure, Ostrander was named as his successor, coming to a program that has proven a regular title contender, but hasn’t won a sectional championship since 1996.
The program Ostrander inherits took a serious hit when 12 seniors, including Alexis Muraco, Alex Lunderman, Rachel Dise, Kenzie Kingsley and Alexa Restante, graduated from a squad that again reached the sectional semifinals, only to fall to eventual champion Cicero-North Syracuse.
Just three seniors are part of the Hornets’ roster this fall, with a lot of sophomores, freshmen and even three eighth-graders making the varsity cut. They all would get a severe test at the outset, and nearly passed it.
Jamesville-DeWitt, winners of the last five sectional Class A championships, hosted F-M in the Aug. 29 season opener, and it started out as a rout, only to turn into a nail-biter that the Red Rams were all too glad to escape with a 2-1 victory.
Unlike the Hornets, J-D lost just three seniors from its 2013 squad, but that included goalie Ally Butler and sweeper Maggie Austin. Thus, Maddy Frank, long a defensive standout, moved into the net, while Chloe Hayward gained a starting spot on the back line.
Both would prove important – but only after a blazing start by J-D’s young and aggressive attack. It took less than five minutes for Alex Fontana to score and put the Rams up 1-0, and less than three minutes later, Paige Sherling, who assisted on Fontana’s goal, took a pass from Alex Catanzarita and beat F-M netminder Haley Everding.
Trailing 2-0, F-M settled down on the defensive side and, gradually, began to find some attacking lanes. Then, in the 29th minute, Ani Villalba took a rebound of her own free kick from the right side and rocketed a 20-yard left-footed shot that Frank had no chance to stop.
Fueled by that goal, the Hornets continued to build an attack for the rest of the game, especially in the early portion of the second half, when Frank had to make a series of tough stops to preserve J-D’s one-goal margin.
Despite all that, F-M remained in the hunt all the way until the end. With 1:30 left, Quinn Bessetta got free on what looked like a solo run up the middle, but Hayward, hustling back, interrupted the play long enough for her J-D teammates to recover and turn back the Hornets’ final challenge.
From here, J-D heads to a busy week that includes next Tuesday’s match with East Syracuse-Minoa and showdowns with Marcellus (who moves from Class B to A this fall) and Westhill next weekend on the Mustangs’ home turf.
F-M, meanwhile has big games of its own in the first full week of September against two traditional AA powers, hosting Baldwinsville Thursday and going to Liverpool next Saturday night.