LIVERPOOL Showing youthful spirit as well as poise, South Jeffersons girls lacrosse team stayed with Marcellus for much of its sectional game on Friday.
However, it was the Mustangs who showed plenty of patience and won the possession game when it counted most as second-seeded Marcellus held off the third-seeded Spartans, 12-8, in a Section 3 semifinal in Class C at Liverpool High School.
Alex Burrows scored five goals and assisted on another and Molly McGuane contributed a goal and three assists to pace the Mustangs (16-2), who advance to face top-seeded Skaneateles in Tuesdays final at the Carrier Dome.
South Jefferson (15-3), which trailed 6-4 at halftime, closed to within a goal twice in the second half, but was turned away each time.
We werent going to give up easily, said Spartans sophomore midfielder Clarissa Perry, who scored three goals and recorded an assist. We really wanted this win, but I think we still played really well together as team.
Marcellus won the possession battle decisively, winning 14 of 21 faceoffs.
The draw is a huge part of the game, said South Jefferson coach Jen Williams, and they dug deep and got their nose down to the ground came up with those balls. And when it comes down to possession for possession, when we had the ball, we scored. But they did a nice job of possessing the ball at the end.
The Spartans defensive effort allowed them to stay within striking distance of the Mustangs as they held their top two scorers Grace Nolan and Grace Hunt to just five points, including just three goals.
But Marcellus simply fell back on their offensive depth, particularly in the first half.
We knew that this team was going to be really evenly matched with us, McGuane said. At the start of the game, they shut off both Graces Grace Hunt has been our main (playmaker) and Grace Nolan is the leading scorer in Section 3 right now. So we struggled a little bit, but our middies really stepped up.
The Spartans nearly rallied from a four-goal deficit at 9-5. Morgan Alexander scored a long-range goal, Perry fired a shot over goalie Renee Poullott with 14:56 left and Maddie Knapp scored with 12:04 remaining in regulation to draw her team within 9-8.
But the Mustangs, who received a goal from Nolan on a free-position attempt with 9:06 left and a goal each from Burrows and Emily Hennigan down the stretch, in turn blanked South Jefferson during the final 12 minutes.
I thought our defense played really well when we were even, Williams said. We created a lot of 50-50 balls and we didnt come up with many of them but I think we took some of their better players out of the game. I thought their other role players did a very nice job.
The Spartans didnt help their cause as they were assessed four penalty cards for the game, with Marcellus cashing in by scoring three times in man-advantage situations, including two in the pivotal second half.
Its a tough game trying to defend on a big field, especially when we were a man down for at least six minutes during the game, Williams said. They were definitely cards, but when youre playing catch-up the whole time and trying to defend seven players, theres a lot of room to run out there ... but I think they did a nice job against us.
Poullott made five saves for Marcellus, and junior goalie Courtney Ziegler also finished with five saves for South Jefferson.
Alexander scored four goals to lead the Spartans and Knapp chipped in with a goal and an assist.
South Jefferson reached the semifinal round for the second time in three years after defeating Tully 17-10 in a quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Im proud of my team, Williams said. Were very young and we got this far ... and were right there hanging with some of the better teams in Section 3.
WATERTOWN 14, EAST SYRACUSE-MINOA 13 (2 OT)
Alyssa Barrett scored 15 seconds into the second overtime to lift the second-seeded Cyclones past the third-seeded Spartans in a Class B sectional semifinal in Chittenango.
Watertown (16-2) advances to the title game to face top-seeded CBA (15-2) at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Carrier Dome.
The girls were very emotional, Burr said. They are so excited about the opportunity to play in the Carrier Dome in the championship game.
After ES-Ms Haley DeVona scored with 57 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 12, the Spartans led 13-12 on Nicole DeVonas goal with 1:02 remaining in the first OT.
After Ashley Flick scored with 27 seconds left in the first OT by converting on a pass from Morgan Cadwell to draw the Cyclones even at 13-13, Barrett followed with the game-winner, with Bri Arthur assisting, with 2:45 left in the second OT.
Both teams showed a lot of resolve out there, Burr said. Theyre a very good team ... but we had great chemistry as a team and we made some big defensive stands.
Cadwell totaled seven points, including three goals, to pace the Cyclones, and Flick scored two goals and assisted on four others.
Barrett scored three goals for Watertown, Arthur tallied two goals and two assists and Morgan Girardi scored twice.
Goalie Christina Matthewson made nine saves for the Cyclones. Rachel Toole tallied five goals and an assist for ES-M (13-5).