November 2, 2012
No way could I wait for all of the Section III soccer semifinals to be done, The whole thing is going to take five days to sort itself out, and by that time we're into the finals, and this whole overlap thing goes on.
Instead, what we'll do is go day by day through the big stories that have unfolded, with all but two of the semifinals done and just one championship game. There's a lot to go through...
Tuesday - Nothing much to start with, just the top seed in Class AA girls ousted in penalty kicks. F-M's takedown of Baldwinsville involved lots of defense, right up to the moment Nina Quigley stopped Taryn Guinta's sixth penalty kick before Alexa Restante hit the winner. That leads the Hornets, absent a sectional title since 1997, to defending champ Liverpool, who shut down C-NS.
Tight contests in Class A, too, where top seed Whitesboro needs a pair of second-half goals to pull past Fulton 2-1 and, by that same margin, J-D fends off Camden, making it three straight times that it's Red Rams vs. Warriors for the sectional crown.
That old, familiar Class B tune of Marcellus-Westhill repeats itself, and it's all Mustangs in as dominant a 2-0 performance you can ask for, leading to a final against Clinton, who gets past South Jefferson in yet another 2-1 affair.
After waiting 24 hours for the Sandy-related weather to pass, Bishop Grimes and Manlius-Pebble Hill set up a delicious Class C-2 final as the Cobras fend off Morrisville-Eaton 3-2 and the Trojans, trailing Morrisville-Eaton rally and win, you guessed it, 2-1.
But the defending champs from Tully are still around, having scraped past Thousand Island 2-1. Now it's the winners of the last three sectional titles meeting in the Class C-1 final as Sauquoit Valley, the top seed, dusted off Watertown IHC 2-0.
Wednesday - No doubt about what steals the headlines on this day - Class D anarchy. Gone are the state champs from Hamilton on the boys side and the two-time defending sectional champs from Remsen on the girls side.
Two early goals by Jude Fusilli sent Watertown IHC's boys on its way, and it held on (this is a recording) 2-1 to knock out the mighty Emerald Knights in the D-1 semis. No one polled Poland to see how they liked this (given their long rivalry with Hamilton), but the Tornadoes now have the open door after its own 2-0 shutout of Copenhagen.
Old Forge, defending the top seed in Class D, had already beaten Lyme before Faith Heritage, drawing upon all the Class C competition it faced in the OHSL Patriot division, turned back Owen D. Young 2-1, giving the Saints a shot at the Eskimos for Class D-2 boys soccer honors.
Just as stunning are the Class D girls developments. Cincinnatus jumped all over mighty Remsen as early goals by Jordan Lidell, Bailey Rutan helped overcome the Rams' 17 shots and led to a 3-2 shocker. What a way for it to end for Erin O'Connor, being a specatator as Cincy plays Poland, who rode Tara Siegle's early goal past Copenhagen 1-0.
Form holds up in Class A, though, where Fowler struck quickly, struck later and struck once more at the end to prevent ESM from matching its 2011 state final four heroics 3-0, and CBA did the same to Whitesboro with two more goals from Andrew DePerro. How good a final will that be?
Thursday - Perhaps it's meant for Utica Proctor in Class AA. How else can you explain the Raiders coming from behind to stun four-time champ Baldwinsville? And then follow it up by doing the same with top seed Liverpool?
The latter of them, a 2-1 overtime epic, marked the start of the AA semifinal twin bill, capped by C-NS stopping F-M behind two early goals and a big late save from Jon Runge, who had rarely started in the net this season. The Northstars beat Proctor (broken record) 2-1 more than two months ago on a very hot Sept. 1. It will be slightly colder for the finals.
Yes, Westhill is still unblemished in Class B, but defending champ Clinton made it tough in the semifinals, keeping it scoreless until Jackson Haber and Conor Powell got second-half goals for a 2-0 win. They were also 0-0 into the second half of the other semifinal, where Skanetaeles scored first - but Cazenovia's Conor Race answered with a natural hat trick, and Caz gets a third shot at at Westhill side it scared twice during the regular season.
And we handed out our first banner, to someone quite familiar in the Class A girls final. No one who watched this game would figure that J-D was better than the Whitesboro side it beat in each of the previous two title games, but an early own goal, followed by amazing defense, produced a 1-0 verdict and a fourth straight sectional crown for the Red Rams.