Cortland – It’s rare in a 2-0 game when two teams can claim they are both winners, but Sunday morning’s Class B girls soccer state final was such a case.
Section IV’s Chenango Forks won its second title in three years while Holland Patent won a lot of state-wide respect in the showdown played at Cortland High School.
“I knew it’d be a challenge,” Chenango Forks coach Christopher Walsh said of Section III’s champion. “I watched them for an hour and a half last night. They’re a skilled team.”
Holland Patent showed that skill at the start with the game’s first scoring chance. It came in the second minute as Samantha Rachon had a shot that forced CF goalie Hannah Fuller to make a good save on. But CF took the momentum in the sixth minute with a shot by Emma Bough that went just wide and with a corner kick in the ninth minute that led to another shot on goal.
HP’s standout junior goalie Haedyn Roberts made the save. That helped show everyone that the Golden Knights – a program that struggled to win a game or two each year just 10 years ago – had a real chance to be the 2018 Class B New York State champion.
Holland Patent showed off some more skill in the 27th minute as senior co-captain Sarah Storsberg crossed the ball into the box. The Blue Devils’ Emma Bough cleared it and her team regained an edge in possession for the next few minutes.
Bough capped the span with a hard shot that Roberts had to slap over the goal. HP’s defense remained strong in the next few minutes as Lauren Ashman and Bough managed shots then Ashman made a great play to get the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead.
A through ball to the right side of the box saw Roberts outracing Ashman to the ball by a fraction of a second. But Roberts couldn’t hold onto the low pass and Ashman was able to one-touch a 15-yard shot from a very sharp angle that went in the open goal. The standout forward had to cut the shot back against her body as she was running on an angle away from the goal in the 35th minute.
Emma Bough had one more chance in the 40th minute but the HP defense forced it wide and it was 1-0 with 40 minutes to play on a cold but clear day.
“It was tight,” Walsh said of the first half. “I told them at halftime we have to keep playing harder and play better.”
Walsh’s team did just that after the break, but so did Holland Patent. Sara Rachon had a long direct in the 44th minute for HP and Sophie Rusnak had a corner kick for CF two minutes later. Both chances were cleared by defenders then Rachon had a long direct kick into the box that Hannah Fuller stopped for CF in the 48th minute. Hannah Bochniak countered with a scoring chance for HP in the 50th minute but CF’s Robin Confer cleared the ball just in time.
The Blue Devils controlled play for the next 26 minutes as Emma Bough had a great shot, Lexi Bartlow had a chance off a direct kick and Confer had a 50-yard direct. All were stopped by Roberts.
Finally, Holland Patent had another chance as Meaghan Greenway had a volley from 25 yards go just wide in the 66th minute. It proved to be a turning point as Emma Bough scored the Blue Devils insurance goal less than a minute later.
The senior made a long run from the left side near midfield, made a move to get a step by her defender then hit a perfect 25-yard shot under heavy pressure from the defense that the athletic Roberts had no chance on.
“It was one of our best games,” Walsh said of his team’s play, especially at critical times in the contest witnessed by more than 500 fans.
That second goal, in thee 67th minute, was followed mostly by midfield play as CF showed a little more skill and HP managed just two chances down the stretch. Annastasha Dornburgh and Alexis Johnson saw their opportunities be just out of reach and HP had no more shots on goal.
“It was bittersweet,” Storsberg said of the final minutes. “I saw the clock ticking down and it was an amazing moment. We put Holland Patent on the map.”
Holland Patent coach Josh Olney was quick to credit Chenango Forks. “Their team played very, very well,” Olney said. “They really controlled the midfield. They did a good job of controlling possession.”
As a result, Chenango Forks is in possession of a second state title in three years.
“It feels great,” Walsh said with a huge smile on his face. “It was a great team win. For the seniors, it was a last go at it. I’m very proud of this team.”
Roberts finished with six saves while Fuller made two for the shutout.
Chenango Forks (21-0-1): Lauren Ashman 1-0, Emma Bough 1-0. Saves – Hannah Fuller 2.
HP (21-2-1): Saves – Haedyn Roberts 6.