Oct 25, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Could the Jamesville-DeWitt and East Syracuse-Minoa girls soccer teams meet up later this week with a Section III Class A championship on the line?
That’s quite possible after the first week of sectional tournament play, where the no. 7 seed Spartans, taking full advantage of a favorable bracket, made it to the semifinal round to join the top-seeded Red Rams, who are after its fifth title in a row.
For ESM, the first obstacle was no. 10 seed Homer, who led early in last Tuesday night’s opening-round game before the Spartans, with well-timed goals, turned it around and pushed past the Trojans 3-1.
They had met twice in the regular season, ESM prevailing 3-0 on Sept. 12, but Homer claiming the rematch 4-3 on Oct. 8. In this third encounter, it was the Trojans grabbing a 1-0 lead on Kim Dieroff’s goal in the 15th minute, off a great feed from Mollie Ferrito.
All through the rest of the half, the Spartans had terrific chances to pull even, seeing Marissa Greiner push an open shot inches wide in the 24th minute and Ashley Scalzo brush another close-in shot off the right post late in the half.
But just 23.1 seconds before the break, Sarah Britton, taking a pass from Caitlin Gagen, hit a low shot past Homer goalie Nadine Downing, tying it 1-1 and shifting the momentum in ESM’s favor.
It remained tied until the 63rd minute, when two ninth-graders teamed up for the go-ahead goal, Claire Maring taking a pass from Greiner in the right corner and fitting a low shot just inside the left post, out of a diving Downing’s reach.
Homer went all-out trying to pull even in the homestretch, but ESM’s defense stayed calm and resisted all the charges, and then clinched it on Natalie O’Brien’s goal with 2:05 left, Gagen again earning the assist.
From there, ESM went to no. 2 seed Central Valley Academy for Thursday night’s quarterfinal. Having faced a far tougher schedule than the Thunder did, the Spartans stayed patient and, with a goal late in regulation, knocked out CVA 1-0.
Cold, windy and wet conditions made it difficult for both sides to establish any sort of rhythm. The Spartans and Thunder went through the first half 0-0, ESM mostly possessing the ball, but staying cautious as it tried to keep CVA from having any breakouts.
The two sides also spent a good portion of the second half in that scoreless deadlock, but all of that changed with seven minutes to play in regulation. ESM got a rare breakaway and, taking a perfectly timed pass from Britton, Scalzo slipped a shot past Thunder goalie Mia Lopez.
And that goal held up, Amanda Goodhines only having to make five saves as Bridget Maring, Haley DeVona, Mary Wilson, Madeline Armstrong and the rest of the Spartans’ back line did a terrific job containing CVA’s forwards all night long.
J-D, meanwhile, got pushed hard for a while in its Class A quarterfinal against no. 8 seed Fulton before taking over in the latter stages to eliminate the Red Raiders 5-1.
Having beaten Fulton twice (by scores of 1-0 and 4-1) in the regular season, the Rams knew what the visiting Red Raiders, who edged Whitesboro 4-3 in the opening round, were capable of doing.
Still, that familiarity helped Fulton, as Hailey Carroll’s first-half goal helped forge a 1-1 tie, where it stayed until the second half. But the Rams’ relentless pressure took a toll and led to a big rush of goals after the break.
Allie Balotin scored twice to lead a deep, well-balanced J-D offense. Caroline Kopp had one goal and one assist, with Paige Sherling and Jessica Wipper also finding the net. Amber Hyatt, Julia Slisz, Erin Brinley and Alex Fontana each got credit for an assist.
And this sent J-D into the Class A semifinals against no. 4 seed Whitesboro, whom it beat in the last three sectional title games, as the Warriors edged Watertown 2-1 in the quarterfinals to get this far.
Meanwhile, in the other semifinal, ESM draws no. 3 seed Camden, who needed to go to penalty kicks in its quarterfinal game to escape against New Hartford.