For five long years, Kirsten Underwood had toiled for the Cazenovia girls soccer team, achieving plenty, but leaving much to want to accomplish as she entered the Section III Class B playoffs for the last time.
One thing in particular ate at Underwood and her more experienced teammates – none of them had ever defeated Skaneateles, and the two Lakers sides must happened to meet up last Thursday night in the opening round at Hyatt Stadium.
Just in time, though, Cazenovia wrote a new script, overcoming all sorts of obstacles to prevail 2-1 on Underwood’s goal in the last 90 seconds of regulation.
These teams had met just once in the regular season, on Sept. 14. On this same turf, Skaneateles had pulled it out by that same 2-1 margin with first-half goals from Tess Peterson and Ryley Pas’cal negating one from Underwood.
In the playoff rematch, much of the first half was quiet, but Skaneateles still got out in front. With 7:47 left in the half, Pas’cal pounced on a Cazenovia turnover, dribbled to the net and lofted a shot past Hannah Matteson into the net.
With the game’s even flow of play, a 1-0 halftime lead was far from safe. Sure enough, six minutes into the second half Allie Vanetti flashed open for Cazenovia and beat Grace Kush for the tying goal.
As the game wore on, Cazenovia spent more time in the Skaneateles end, earning chances, but also frustrated by whistles that led to four different yellow cards.
Still, the game remained 1-1, and was drifting toward overtime until Underwood stepped up and got the biggest goal of her varsity career.
With 1:23 to play, a small opening in the Skaneateles back line flashed long enough for Underwood to burst through it and slip a shot past Kush, the eventual game-winner.
Much as Cazenovia wanted to celebrate, it could not because, less than 48 hours later, it had the tough task of trying to upend top seed and defending champion Westhill in the sectional quarterfinals, the same team that beat the Lakers 6-0 back in September.
Somehow, the Warriors pulled off another 6-0 victory in the sectional rematch, scoring four times in the first half and never letting the Lakers establish any sort of rhythm, holding them to four shots.
Overcoming seven saves by Matteson, Westhill had Sophia Caron score twice, with single goals going to Lauren Holsten, Megan O’Reilly, Lauren Marshall and Ciarra Rudnick.
All of this followed the Chittenango girls soccer team’s exit from the sectional Class B tournament in last Wednesday’s opening round, with the no. 10 seed Bears taking a 4-0 defeat to no. 7 seed South Jefferson in Adams.
Try as it could, Chittenango’s defense could not contain the Spartans’ attacking duo of Macy Schultz and Mara Hathaway. Schultz scored twice, adding an assist, while Hathaway got the other two goals.
This brought a quick end to a Bears season that included an 8-6-2 record, 20 goals from Sarah Martin and 10 goals from Jessica Shepard, plus a satisfying 3-1 win over Cazenovia on Oct. 11 that followed a 15-3 destruction of Hannibal the night before.
During that Hannibal game, Shepard notched four goals and one assist. Eleven others scored goals, too, including Martin, Tiffany Scofield, Emily Moon, Ally Shoemaker, Makenzie Dahlin, Kendra Moore, Maddie Flack, Julia Pynn and Kailey Paul.