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Chateaugay girls soccer loses state final in overtime

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CORTLAND — The dream of the first state championship in girls soccer fell one goal short at SUNY Cortland on Sunday, as the Chateaugay girls varsity soccer team suffered its only setback of the 2012 fall season to Poland Central, 3-2 in overtime.

Playing in their first state Class D championship game since 2004, the previously unbeaten Bulldogs fell to the Tornadoes and will finish ranked second in the state. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 21-1, while Poland claimed the Class D crown at 23-1.

Poland’s Tara Siegle scored the game-winning goal with five minutes, one second left in the second overtime.

“This is a tough one to take,” coach Steve Lang said. “It’s tough playing a team like Poland with just 10 players, but the girls gave it their all.

“We are all obviously disappointed with the loss, but these girls have nothing to hang their heads about. We had a tremendous season.

It was not the dominating game that the Bulldogs had on Saturday in the 6-2 semifinal win against Section 11 champion Smithtown Christian. In fact, it was the opposite, as Poland had several offensive chances while the Bulldogs attempted to disrupt the Tornadoes’ midfield-control game.

Neither team solved the other’s goalie during the opening half, with the two state-ranked squads battling to a 0-0 draw at the break.

Poland struck first with standout Mikayla Blumenstock netting an unassisted marker, but the resilient Bulldogs came right back and tied the game five seconds later as Katie Beach converted a pass from sister Alexis.

The two squads battled back and forth, with Chateaugay countering the Poland attack with one of its own to seemingly take the lead, but the ball did not cross the goal line. Hannah Cook, who was named the game’s most outstanding player, took a sharp-angled shot from the wing that clanked off both the post and crossbar and bounced back to Green, who controlled the ball without any further damage with 28 minutes remaining in regulation.

Poland again took a one-goal lead with 9:52 left in the second half as Siegle fired a long, cross-corner shot from 20 yards out that was just out of the Bulldogs keeper’s reach.

With the game clock under two minutes, Chateaugay put forth a valiant effort and struck for the final time in regulation, sending the title contest into a pair of 10-minute overtime sessions.

Alexis Beach fed Brianna Cook, who turned and found herself all alone against the Poland keeper and had little trouble putting the ball into the top corner to extend the season by 20 minutes for both teams.

Midway through the first overtime, a decisive blow was felt by the Bulldogs as one of their players was issued a yellow card and she immediately received a red card. Chateaugay finished the game with 10 players on the field.

Chateaugay continued to stay even with Poland for the remainder of the first overtime, but with the Bulldogs one player short, the Tornadoes took to the offensive and blasted home the game-winner.

Siegle lifted a floater that found the underside of the crossbar to hand the Class D crown to the Poland contingent, sending the Bulldogs back home with the runner-up plaque.

“I am so proud of this team. We tried to win the game in overtime, but it just wasn’t meant to be,” Lang said. “The girls are disappointed right now, as am I, but in time, when we look back, they will realize just what they accomplished this year.

“This was a very talented group of girls. They worked hard from the beginning of the season right straight through to the end,” Lang said. “It was a pleasure making this run toward a state title with them.”

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