Depending on which class they were in, girls soccer teams competing in the Section III playoffs would have to win once or twice in order to reach the semifinal round.
For East Syracuse Minoa and Christian Brothers Academy, it meant a head-to-head showdown in Thursday’s sectional Class A quarterfinal at Spartan Stadium, and the no. 6 seed Brothers pulled it out, 2-1, over the no. 3 seed Spartans.
Before the game was 10 minutes old, ESM had a 1-0 lead, Mallory Ott delivering a free kick from the left side that Lauren Ott deflected into the net before CBA goalie Catherine Burns could react.
Then the defenses settled in, with few real opportunities until the last 90 seconds of the first half, when the Brothers’ Grace Hulslander glanced one shot off the right post and Meghan McKeen slammed another shot off the crossbar.
Encouraged by that flurry, CBA picked up its tempo and, less than six minutes into the second half, tied it, 1-1, when a long corner kick went to Julia Sullivan, who from the right crossed it and saw Katy Stanard head it past Alana Day.
Though ESM took more shots, Burns, who had 13 saves, turned them away, and got rewarded when, with 6:55 left, the Brothers hit the game-winner.
Awarded a free kick 25 yards out from the left side, Hulslander did not wait for the 10-yard space normally required for the set piece. Instead, she passed to the middle, and Stanard’s perfectly timed deflection found the net.
Jamesville-DeWitt was again the Class A top seed, and in Thursday’s quarterfinal would meet no. 8 seed Whitesboro, who had bashed Oswego 6-1 in the opening round.
Despite the seed, the game was far from a lopsided affair, and the Red Rams had to work hard all 80 minutes to eliminate the Warriors 2-0, the defense again in the spotlight as it held Whitesboro to four shots, all stopped by Katie Cappelletti.
Whitesboro limited J-D’s own set of chances, but a goal in each half proved enough for the eight-time defending sectional champions. Lainey Foti and Sydney Baker earned those goals to overcome six saves by Warriors netminder Sierra Crouch.
So in the Class A semifinals J-D would meet no. 5 seed New Hartford, who needed overtime to get past no. 4 seed Cortland 3-1, while CBA would challenge no. 2 seed Fulton after the Red Raiders’ 4-0 quarterfinal romp over Watertown.
Meanwhile, in the Class D sectional bracket, Manlius-Pebble Hill, the no. 3 seed, would fight its way through last Tuesday’s first-round match with no. 14 seed Madison, beating the Blue Devils 2-0.
Bianca Melendez-Martineau, scoring just minutes into the game to put the Trojans in front. Madison hung close, thanks to Kayle Usborne’s 11 saves, but Melendez-Martineau struck again in the second half to double the margin as Rachel Comfort and Ren Brown got credit for assists.
Still at home for the Class D quarterfinals, MPH would face no. 6 seed Cincinnatus, who took out Belleville-Henderson 5-0 to get this far, and proved that it wasn’t a fluke by handling the Trojans, too, the 4-0 defeat ending MPH’s season.
Bishop Grimes could not make it out of the opening round of the Class C sectional tournament, the no. 15 seed Cobras overwhelmed by no. 2 seed Tully in a 5-0 defeat.
Proving its 14-1-1 regular season was legitimate, the Black Knights claimed a 2-0 lead by halftime, and then pulled further away, led by Emma Byrne and Alexi Hamilton, who each had two goals and one assist. Grimes goalie Caroline Wilkinson made 10 saves as her team finished the season at 4-11-1.