POTSDAM — It’s on to the state playoffs.
For the second time in the last three seasons, the Brushton-Moira girls varsity soccer team will represent Section 10 in the state playoffs after claiming a nerve-wracking 2-1 victory against Northern Athletic Conference East Division rival Madrid-Waddington in the sectional final Saturday at SUNY Potsdam.
Brushton-Moira (13-4-1) will face Section 7 champion Ausable Valley (12-6) in the first round of state play at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Potsdam high school.
The Panthers, who won the East Division’s regular season title and are 13-4-1, scored the game-winning goal less than two minutes after the Yellowjackets (6-9-3 overall) had tied the game at 1-1 late in the first half.
Brushton-Moira sophomore Teaghan Phelan, who scored the Panthers’ initial goal on a direct kick in the 12th minute, set up younger sister Kyla, an eighth-grader, for the go-ahead goal with just 2:57 left in the opening half. The elder Phelan gained possession from a pair of Madrid-Waddington players inside the midfield stripe and sent a long feed up the middle, where the younger Phelan took control of the ball away from a defender, touched it past Madrid-Waddington goalie Emma Martin (5 saves) and watched as it rolled across the line just inside the near post.
“That was very important for us to answer right after their goal,” said Brushton-Moira coach Chuck Phippen, who was named as the East Division’s Coach of the Year. “If we didn’t answer as soon as we did, it could have been a whole different ballgame.”
Entering Saturday’s championship, the Yellowjackets closed out the season with three wins and a tie in their last four outings and recorded six victories during the second half of the season, after starting out with only two ties in their first seven games.
It was Brushton-Moira’s third straight win this season against Madrid-Waddington, including a 3-0 victory on Sept. 12 and a 2-1 overtime win on Oct. 2.
“Justin (coach Richards) has done a great job with his team. They are a good team and really came on strong during the second half of the season,” Phippen said. “But I have to say that we came on when we needed to, especially after they tied the game.”
Sophomore goalie Natalie Palmer made eight saves.
“Natalie really earned her nickname tonight, she was ‘Big Time,’” Phippen said. “She made some outstanding stops, including one on a Madrid rush with about seven minutes left. She came out of the crease and took a ball right off a player’s foot. She really was ‘Big Time’ tonight.”
Phippen also pointed out the play of his defensive unit, consisting of Chloe VanEss, Alena Machabee, Alyssa Poirier and Bailey Traynor.
MADRID-WADDINGTON 3, BRUSHTON-MOIRA 0
The third time’s a charm.
The Madrid-Waddington boys varsity soccer team shut out the Brushton-Moira Panthers for the third time during the season Saturday and claimed the Section 10 Class C title with the triumph in Potsdam. Madrid-Waddington defeated Brushton-Moira 2-0 on Sept. 12 and again on Oct. 3.
The Yellowjackets scored the only goal they would need in the first half, then tacked on a pair of goals during the final 40 minutes and advanced to the opening round of the state soccer playoffs next Saturday at Potsdam High School. Madrid-Waddington will face the winner of the Section 2 versus Section 7 game at 1 p.m.
Madrid-Waddington senior Cade VanBuren had a hand in all three goals Saturday, setting up younger brother Brody for the eventual game-winning in the 27th minute, then assisted on Joe Greene’s insurance marker less than five minutes into the second half.
Cade VanBuren scored unassisted with just over two minutes remaining.
Trent Lashua made two stops in goal for the Yellowjackets (14-3-1), while George Webb recorded seven saves for Brushton-Moira, which finished the season 10-8.
“I think what it boils down to is having enough numbers and depth on the bench,” said Brushton-Moira coach Adam Britton whose team fielded just 13 players. “We have played all season long with a tremendous amount of heart and we have a ton of worth ethic through and through with this team.”