October 26, 2011
Purple Tigers make early exit
Bears end CHS season with 2-0 shutout
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High midfielder Ashley Behrenfeld (21) drives through Chittenango players Courtney Dyer (19), Kayla Bain (5), and Katie Boyer (1) at Moiseichik Field Tuesday. Visiting Chittenango won the Class A first round game 2-0.
After a fairly even first half in Tuesday evening’s Section 3 Class A first-round girls’ soccer game between ninth-seeded Chittenango and No. 8 Cortland High at Moiseichik Field, things changed drastically.
The visiting Bears started the second half out strong and stayed that way, so much so that the hosts didn’t get their first shot of the second half until 18 minutes had elapsed. By then, Chittenango (9-7-1) had scored the only goal it would need en route to what ended up a 2-0 victory.
“We talked at halftime about playing the way we had in the first half — ball control, getting the ball to feet and fast-paced,” CHS coach Abbey Albright said, her team closing with a 7-7-3 overall record. “Chittenango started off strong in the second half and it caught a few of our girls off-guard. Things spiraled downward from there. It took us too long to get going in the second half. Eighteen minutes in is a long time (not to have a shot).
“Sometimes it takes awhile for this team to recover when things aren’t going our way, and especially when we get behind.”
That happened 4:17 into the second half, as Chittenango senior forward Kelsey Busse came down the middle in the box, beat Cortland junior goalie Amanda Edwards to a crossing pass from the right side by eighth-grade forward Lauren Billington and put a rolling shot into the left side of the goal from point-blank range.
“Lauren crossed it and I kind of swooped it in,” Busse said with a laugh in describing her fifth, and most important, goal of the season. “Lauren and (junior forward) Kaitlin Antelmi have made a lot of our plays work this season up top. After that, we picked up the intensity. We knew we had to get it done. We played the best game, probably, that we have all season.”
The Bears narrowly missed scoring again 13:05 into the second when a header from the left side by sophomore midfielder Sara Pierce banged off the crossbar, the ball fed in off a corner kick from the right side by Billington.
“We tried to spread it out a little more to the sides in the second half and get the ball back in to give our forwards more room to work with,” said Bears coach Brian Brzuszkiewicz, whose squad advanced to a Thursday quarterfinal contest at top-seeded Jamesville-DeWitt (16-0-1). “We wanted to open up the passing lanes and make it easier to possess. It helped.
“We knew we had to keep the intensity up after that first goal because they’d be trying to get it back. Even after we scored our second goal, we knew it wasn’t over. Cortland is a good team, and every game we’ve played against them this season has been a good one, with everyone playing hard to the end,” he added.
The two teams played to a 1-1 tie at SUNY Cortland on Sept. 15, and the Purple Tigers scored a 4-2 overtime victory at Chittenango on Oct. 11. The two teams tied for seeding purposes, so that win gave CHS the first-round home game.
The Bears’ second goal came with 5:25 left, senior forward Courtney Dyer getting to the ball just ahead of Edwards after a short punt and putting it home from 10 yards out on the left side. “Coach tells us not to run to the goalie, but I thought I could beat her to it,” said Dyer, who now has four goals on the season. “I took the opportunity and kicked it in. It was awesome; I was just making sure we had a little extra margin.”
“Chittenango started three girls up top, and they hadn’t attacked us like that before,” Albright said. “After awhile Antelmi drifted back, which allowed Liza Ferro (CHS sophomore center back) to move up the field some. They were stronger in the back today than they were in the first two games. They didn’t make many mistakes. We only had four shots in the second half (to the winners’ nine).
“Liza played very strong defense, won a lot of 50-50 balls and wasn’t afraid to step up and attack even though she plays in the back. Rachel (Prentice, junior forward) and Erika (Faberzak, senior forward) had some nice touches to each other and played well opposite each other. Erika had nine goals and seven assists this season, and led our team with 25 points.”
Chittenango had an 8-7 shot advantage in the first half, when the hosts had a pair of good chances. Bears junior goalie Sierra Shafer made the save of a shot from the top of the box and controlled the rebound just before Prentice got there just 3:30 into the game. Just short of the halfway point a corner kick from the right side by sophomore forward Kennedy Cook bounced around inside the box and a Chittenango defender blocked a shot before the ball was cleared.
Edwards made a nice save on a shot by Antelmi that deflected off a Cortland defender 4:20 in, and slid out to just beat Antelmi to a loose ball just under two minutes later. Edwards made six saves on the night, one more than Shafer.
“I told the girls at the end of the game how proud I was of them this season,” Albright said. “We had a lot of new girls coming up and had to fill a lot of gaps. (Junior) Sierra Tallman and (sophomore) Sarah Endress did a good job in back, Kennedy Cook had a nice season up top and (junior) Amber Welsh did a nice job of shifting to center midfield this year (from outside midfield).
Liza Ferro and (junior) Amanda DeGraff were both starters on the outside back last year, and this year they made the shift to the center back. I put a lot of responsibility on them in the back and they did a nice job with that throughout the season.”
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