POTSDAM — Madrid-Waddington’s boys and girls soccer teams both won Section 10 Class C titles Saturday on Potsdam High School’s turf field after the passing of morning showers brought a pleasant fall afternoon.
The two championship games ended in diametrical fashion as illustrated by the finals seconds on the clock.
In the boys game Yellowjackets fans enjoyed a countdown to a 2-0 victory over an heroic defensive effort by second-seeded St. Lawrence Central (7-11 overall). The top seeded Jackets (14-2-1) claimed a fifth straight sectional title (2 Class D, 3 Class Cs) under coach Ryan Robinson and moved on to host Section 7 champion Lake Placid in regional semifinal action.
In the girls game, Madrid-Waddington coach Justin Richards watched the time expire in the fourth overtime, dreading the impending shootout, with the second-seeded team locked in a scoreless draw with fourth- seeded Norwood-Norfolk. M-W (10-6-1) prevailed in the shootout of co-champions 3-0 to gain their first state tournament berth since 2006. M-W will travel to Plattsburgh to face Section 7 champion Ausable Valley in the regional semifinals.
Norwood-Norfolk (0-13-4), which competed against Class B and Class A schools in the Central Division, headed home taking pride in the fact that they earned a share of the Class C crown without winning a game. The Flyers allowed just two goals in two sectional games and advanced past top seeded Brushton-Moira in a shootout on Wednesday.
Norwood-Norfolk coach Jessica Harvey believed that her team earned the right to be called champions through forthrightness.
“The girls worked hard every day and we focused on defense in a very tough Central Division schedule. We made of the most of it and proved that we could compete with the other outstanding Class C teams,” she said.
“Today we weathered the storm against some outstanding offense by Madrid-Waddington and we had some chances. I am extremely proud of this group.”
The two five-minute, sudden-victory overtimes, which followed two 10-minute overtimes left Madrid-Waddington’s Justin Richards with a sense of uneasiness.
In the third overtime Norwood-Norfolk goalie Madison Weaver stopped Hailee Blair on a clean breakaway. In the fourth overtime Lane Ruddy outran a defender on the right wing and fired a shot that Weaver deflected with a diving effort.
The ball lay in front of the empty net for a split second before Flyer defender Makayla Phillips cleared it.
“I was nervous for the shootout. I haven’t been in one of these things for about 20 years and I wasn’t sure who to pick to shoot. We had practiced shootouts but everyone did about the same,” Richards said.
Richards’ selection process was right on. The Jackets encountered no finishing problems in the shootout, which lasted just three shooters on each side.
Grace Plumley netted a break-through goal as the lead-off shooter and Hailey Marcellus and Lacey Sullivan followed her confident approach with shots into the cords. The first two Norwood-Norfolk shooters rattled shots off the crossbar and the third chipped a shot that landed on the roof of the net.
“I was a little nervous but I knew that we really needed me to score first. I didn’t try to trick the goalie because I knew that if put my shot where I wanted to I would score,” Plumley said.
“We have a great team and I know we will do well in the states. We will figure it out.”
Madrid-Waddington’s Alaina Armstrong stopped five shots and Madison Weaver posted 12 saves in sharing 110 minute shutouts.
The Madrid-Waddington boys were ready for the St. Lawrence Central Larries to pack their defensive zone.
But it didn’t make it any easier for the Jackets to translate their dominance on the field to total control of the scoreboard.
Even after senior Matt Robinson continued one the most prolific scoring seasons in the Section 10 history by ripping a direct kick past Larries goaltender Connor Provost in the fourth minute of the game.
The Jackets put the SLC goal in a state of siege (29-2 shots) but the entrenched Larries defended and did not allow another goal until Matt Reed sniped home a shot from the top of the penalty area off a pass from Graham Hill with just over 15 minutes remaining in regulation.
“This was a really tough defensive game,” coach Robinson said. “St. Lawrence Central really worked hard. We just had to keep doing what we planned to do. We moved Matt Reed up to the wing and he got off a great shot to score that goal for us. That was huge.
“Gabe Horning was really tough for them. He was all over the field.”
Matt Robinson made runs all over the attacking zone for Madrid-Waddington, which confidently maintained the integrity of its passing game, moving the ball from side to side and cycling the ball in the middle.
“They really pressed us in the middle very hard. Other teams had played us this way earlier in the season. We just had to keep moving and moving the ball,” Robinson said.
“We are so happy to win today and go to the states. I really love this team. It was kind of a rebuild after last year and everyone came to practice every day ready to work hard. We really wanted it.”
Jacob Morgan stopped two shots in the shutout. Connor Provost made 17 saves for SLC.