October 10, 2011
Griffin goals lift McGraw girls
Rich Barnes/contributing photographer
Cincinnatus Kassidy Kievit (10) pokes the ball away from McGraw’s Brooke Guernsey (8) during Saturday’s first place soccer showdown at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
Jaimee Griffin knew it all along.
“Jaimee told me before we started tonight, ‘This is my game,’” McGraw Central girls’ soccer coach Dave Law said with a laugh Saturday night at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
The junior forward had just delivered on those words, scoring three goals —two in the second half to break a 2-2 tie at halftime — and lead the Eagles to a 4-2 win over Cincinnatus in a battle of Central Counties League unbeatens.
It was the nightcap of a soccer doubleheader between the two schools, the Cincy boys having earlier won 2-1 (see related story).
“We wanted this,” said Griffin, whose two second-half goals — she now has nine on the season — came on high shots to the far corner from around 20 yards out on the left wing. “We’ve been looking forward to this game since the beginning of the season. This should give us a good boost towards being undefeated in the league. We’re ready.”
“Jaimee is coming alive,” Law said of Griffin, his team now 9-0 in league play and 9-2-1 overall. “Last year she was very timid, but this year she’s showing the power she has in both feet, and her tremendous speed, especially the last three or four games.”
With the scored deadlocked, as noted, Law gave an impassioned halftime speech to his squad, the seven-time defending league champions.
“I told the girls that they’d already beaten them, but that they hadn’t put it on the scoreboard yet,” he said. “The ball was in our offensive half most of the time, and the shots were 12-4 in our favor at the half. The girls had outplayed them, and I told them that the momentum was in their favor and the league was in their hands.”
“We wanted this, and Coach Law fired us up,” Griffin said. We were so ready. But I was a little surprised that we were able to do that.”
“Our team didn’t play the game we needed to play tonight,” was all Coach Lisa Schuyler had to say after the Red Lions, the 14th-ranked class D team in the state, had fallen to 7-1 in the league and 8-1 overall.
Griffin got things started for the Eagles just 2:51 into the game off an assist from senior forward Kaitelyn Leonard. Cincy junior forward Jen Rutan tied the score with an unassisted tally 8:05 into the game, but McGraw retook the lead 5:34 later as junior midfielder Nicole Purcell converted an assist from Leonard for her eighth goal of the season. Red Lions senior forward Jennifer Rice tied the game again 2:08 before intermission off a crossing pass from the right side by Rutan.
After Law’s halftime chat with his squad, it was time for Griffin to take over. She gave her team the lead for good with 26:55 left, and closed out the scoring with 5:01 remaining, with the pair of aforementioned identical goals.
“This was my best game of the season,” Griffin said with a smile afterwards. “I guess it happened because we practice a lot of chipping every day. On my first goal, Kaitelyn led the ball across, it went off the goalie and I put it in.”
“We’d seen them play and had a game plan,” Law said. We knew they’d try to press early, and we tried to be ready in the middle. Sarah Leach, a freshman, did a fantastic job at stopper in her first time playing it man-to-man. We put her on Rutan, who has a lot of power and speed, and she got away from Sarah a couple of times in the first half. We talked at halftime and (Rutan) didn’t get away in the second half.”
“I’m not sure who our MVP would be; Janice is most deserving, but they all played well. Nicole had one of her best games, Sarah played well and (junior) Shelby Mix, a sweeper, did too.”
McGraw ended up outshooting the Red Lions 25-10. Senior keeper Juanita Diaz made 11 saves and yielded for about four minutes in the second half to sophomore Susie Waltz, who wasn’t called on to stop any shots. Eagles keeper Caitlin Wyant, a senior, made four saves.
McGraw hosts Bishop Grimes Monday in a non-leaguer starting at 3 p.m. and visits Otselic Valley Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Cincinnatus hosts Brookfield Thursday in a game that starts at 4:30 p.m.
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