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HS girls soccer: Watertown, South Jeff play to 1-1 draw


The outcome between the South Jefferson and Watertown girls soccer teams on Tuesday night exemplifies just how fiercely competitive the Frontier League is this season.

After battling to a scoreless tie in the first meeting this season, the Spartans and Cyclones each finally managed to tally a goal against one another, but this time finished in a 1-1 draw in a physical interdivisional crossover game at Watertown High School.

“Every game has been close,” Watertown coach Mike VanNostrand said. “We’re a little disappointed that we didn’t win. But I’m also proud that after we were down 1-0 just (around) 40 seconds into the game the girls had it in them to keep playing, because we haven’t been scoring a lot of goals.”

After South Jefferson’s Courtney Cavellier scored in the game’s first minute, Watertown’s Miranda Gilbert followed with the tying goal in the 53rd minute of regulation.

“It’s awesome, I’m so happy,” Gilbert, a senior co-captain, said of the outcome. “We definitely wanted it more than we did last time. It’s a big deal for us to come back and get the tie.”

Spartans goalkeeper Jackie Decker made 12 saves, while counterpart Katie Aldrich finished with nine saves for Watertown.

“We got off to a good start obviously in the first minute,” South Jefferson coach Terry Burgess said, “then we got outplayed for a good portion of the game. But we played fairly well defensively — so along with our keeper, who made with some really big saves — that’s always going to keep us in the game.”

By rallying to record the tie, the Cyclones (4-4-3, 4-4-2) moved within one point of first-place Carthage in the league’s “A” Division.

In turn, the Spartans (7-1-2) boosted their lead in the “B” Division to four points over Lowville.

“I thought in the overtime we played a lot better,” Burgess said. “We took it to them a little more than in regulation time. But I think it was a fair result for both teams as far as the way the game went.”

“This was really an evenly played game ... and I think this league is really up for grabs,” VanNostrand said.

Cavellier opened the scoring just 43 seconds elapsed by working her way down the left wing and firing the ball into the right side of the net.

“That was definitely a bummer,” Gilbert said. “We tried not to let it get inside our heads. We just bounced back and tried to stay focused.”

Gilbert scored the tying goal as she moved down the left side and with her left foot booted a drive that an outstretched Decker got a hand on, but the ball curled into the upper half of the net with 27:16 left in the second half.

“Miranda is a hard worker and she loves this game,” VanNostrand said. “She’s naturally right-footed, but she strikes the ball fantastically with her left foot. It was just a perfect shot.”

Gilbert’s effort, which she called “just a lucky goal,” was only the third tally allowed by South Jefferson this season.

“There was a couple times when we could have played harder and we didn’t — and it showed and came back on us,” Decker said.

Decker later responded with a sequence of two quick consecutive saves with nine minutes remaining in the second half. Aldrich then ranged from her net to deny Hayley Maguire’s scoring rush with 7:30 left in regulation.

“We definitely worked for it in overtime to try and get (an extra) point,” Decker said. “Sometimes you work hard, but the other team works hard as well. These games just result in basically a good experience because you know you have to work hard all the time.”

The fortunes of the “A” and “B” Division teams continue to be interwoven as Watertown bounced back after losing to Lowville on Saturday.

“Right now we’re doing OK, but we want to do better,” Gilbert said. “We definitely want to try and stay focused and win these next few games.”

“I think everyone is going to be giving us their best game, and we’ve been saying this since the beginning of the year,” Burgess said. “Last year, we snuck up on people and this year people expect us to be one of the better teams. And we have to respond to that, obviously.”

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