October 25, 2011
Cortland Christian out to keep crown
Cortland Christian Academy girls moved a win away from repeating as Empire State Christian Athletic League soccer champions.
The top-seeded Lady Saints opened up the playoffs with a convincing 5-0 semifinal round victory over visiting fourth-seeded Finger Lakes on Monday afternoon, improving to 13-0 on the season with a 32nd consecutive victory.
Cortland Christian moves into Saturday’s 10 a.m. title match at Lysander Park’s Spence Field in Baldwinsville, to take on Corning Christian in a rematch of last year’s title game won by the Lady Saints 9-2. It will be the fourth time in the past five years the locals have reached the finals, a semifinal loss on penalty kicks to Valley Heights in 2008 the only time that recent stretch of playoff success was broken.
Third-seed Corning Christian earned this title game rematch by upending second-seed Valley Heights 6-4 in Norwich on Monday in the other ESCAL semifinal.
Against Finger Lakes (5-7-1) from Seneca Falls, Cortland Christian scored three times over the final 12 minutes of the opening half to grasp control.
Brianna Harvey got things rolling by scoring after making a strong run from the left wing to the near post, converting a pass from Hannah McGowan. A throw-in by Harvey led to a Caitlyn Blanchard goal on an 18-yard shot with 3:30 left in the opening stanza. A corner kick taken by McGowan made in 3-nil a mere 32 seconds before the break, Mariah Ploss winning that ball at the near post and slipping a back pass that Korissa Kinney turned into the third Cortland Christian tally.
McGowan made it 4-0 five minutes into the second half when she made Finger Lakes pay for a botched clearing attempt. The final goal came later in the half, the visitors misplaying a corner kick taken by McGowan into an own goal.
Cortland Christian held a 28-4 shot advantage, goalie Charity Nelson needing just a pair of saves to earn the shutout.
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