October 21, 2011
Cincy clips Eagles
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Bailey Rutan (21), of Cincinnatus, celebrates a Red Lions goal against McGraw with teamamate Danielle Wood on Thursday. Host Cincy beat its rival, 3-1.
By TANEY BEAUMONT
CINCINNATUS — Turnabout is fair play, they say, and in the case of the Cincinnatus Central girls’ soccer team it also meant a share of the Central Counties League championship on a cold and windy Thursday afternoon.
The Red Lions, the 18th-ranked Class D team in the state, fell behind early in their Senior Night game with visiting McGraw, but came back to tie it 1-1 at halftime and went on to beat the Eagles 3-1.
Both teams finished the regular season with matching 11-1 league records, McGraw having won the teams’ first meeting 4-2 back on Oct. 8 at SUNY Cortland and already with at least a share of its eighth straight CCL crown. Cincy takes a 12-1 overall record into Section 3 Class D play starting next week, while the Eagles wound up the regular season at 11-4-1.
Senior forward Jennifer Rice scored twice for the hosts, sandwiched around a goal by sophomore midfielder Mallory Cobb — assisted by Rice — that wound up being the game-winner.
Junior forward Jaimee Griffin notched the only McGraw tally 1:01 into the contest, putting home the rebound off the crossbar of a shot from the 18-yard line on the right side by junior forward Kailey Reddick.
Red Lions senior goalie Juanita Diaz stopped seven shots in the game, two of them off deflections inside the box, while Eagles junior goalie Caitlin Wyant made six saves.
“This has been a season where the girls have been told they could be successful. It was a matter of them believing it,” Cincy coach Lisa Schuyler said after having been drenched with the contents of a water cooler by her players. “They moved toward their common goal. We wanted to be first in the league and knew that the biggest challenge would be from McGraw. To split with them is OK.”
It’s also something that no CCL team has managed to do since 2005, the last time the Eagles suffered a league loss. Coach Dave Law has been at the helm since 2007, and his five squads hadn’t lost a league game until Thursday.
“It was a very high-spirited game, a little physical at times,” Law said. “That’s to be expected when rivals come together. Both were aggressive, and it was a good game. I was a little concerned after the rain in the morning, but the field was very playable.
“When we got down we lost sight of the way we usually play, going out and in with the ball. We went down the middle, and the ball came back down on us, from them. Cincy was ready to play, and I had trouble getting our girls as up as they were for our first game against them. We couldn’t get going.”
After Leonard’s early tally Cincy took over the game, to the tune of an 11-4 shot advantage in the first half. It wasn’t until 10:03 remained that the Red Lions were able to equalize, however, as Rice took a feed from Rutan and scored from close range on the left side.
“We didn’t want to slow down,” said Rice. “After we tied it we started to play like we usually do. We talked at halftime about how we were beating them to the ball and that if we kept on playing like we had in the first half they had no chance to beat us.”
The second half was Cincy’s turn to get an early score as Rice took a corner kick from the left side that Wyant got her hands on but dropped, Cobb right there to put home the loose ball 3:03 in. “We’d had some corner kicks that hadn’t gone in, and we wanted to get one,” Cobb said. I just pushed through and popped it in.
“It had been seven years since Cincy had won a league title, and we knew this was our year.”
Rice closed out the scoring off an assist from freshman forward Madison Knickerbocker 13:52 into the second half, taking the ball inside the box and sending a roller home on the right side. “”I got a great through ball from Madison and put it into the corner,” Rice said. “We knew that we had to step it up after that.”
McGraw did just that, outshooting its hosts 10-5 in the second half with a good number of those shots coming once it fell behind by two goals. Diaz, however, was equal to the task. She corralled a hard shot from Leonard that went off a Red lions defender with seven minutes left, and 1:10 later came out to kick the ball away from the oncoming Leonard on a semi-breakaway.
“I told them (Schuyler and her assistant, Bill Cobb) that there were some good players and good plays in the game, but that their keeper stood out above the rest,” Law said. We knew we had to get shots on goal, and she stopped a couple of deflections that I thought were in.”
“I still can’t believe some of the saves I made,” Diaz said with a laugh. “It was a matter of focusing, getting to the ball and reacting, and everybody playing their heart out. after they scored, we had a lot of hustle and got to the ball first; we were determined that that was going to be their only goal.
“We were able to settle down and play our game against them this time; at Cortland State we got riled because we have a few first-time players. But we play here all the time, and could settle in and play our game. It’s such an amazing feeling to be a part of a team that can play great soccer against another great team and pull out the win. It’s unbelievable, and I’m proud of this team.”
The game with a CCL title share on the line was the second in two days between the schools. The McGraw boys knocked off visiting Cincy, the top-ranked Class D team in the state, 1-0 in double overtime Wednesday afternoon, both teams now 10-1 in the league heading into this afternoon’s regular-season finales.
“McGraw’s a great team but we wanted it, probably a little more than they did,” Diaz said of Thursday’s contest. “The boys had a tough loss (Wednesday) and we did too, in our game at Cortland State. We wanted to show them that we were still in it. It was an extra incentive to settle things.”
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