Canajoharie, OESJ headed to regionals
With aspirations of reaching the state final four, the Canajoharie and Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville girls soccer teams will hit the road for their respective quarterfinal matches.
The Section II Class C champion Lady Cougars will make the trek to Plattsburgh High School to face Section VII champion Northern Adirondack in a 3 p.m. contest.
Section II Class D champion Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville will head south to Middletown High School to take on Section 9 champion Eldred also at 3 p.m.
The Lady Wolves picked up the newly-formed school districts first sectional championship with a 3-1 victory over Fort Ann Wednesday on the turf at Stillwater High School.
“It took us a while to get our touch down on the turf but I definitely think our speed had a lot to do with the win,” OESJ coach Zale Benton said. “We have been practicing in the mud so that kind of slows us down, but I tend to believe our speed is definitely a plus.”
The Lady Wolves’ game will be a good fit against Eldred on the turf at for the turf at Middletown’s Faller Field.
Eldred (10-7-1) rallied past Livinston Manor for a 3-2 victory and secured its berth in the regional game.
“I don’t know anything about them,” Benton said. “I do know they were at our game to watch but I don’t know much about them. However, I do know that if they got this far they have to be pretty good.”
Benton, who coached the St. Johnsville Lady Saints to the Class D state championship in 2000, said the team has been excited in practice and anxious to play.
“At this point it is just maintenance and doing the things we have been doing all season,” she said. “I pretty much just reiterated if it’s not broke, you don’t fix it. What we have been doing has been working pretty well. So we focused on the things we know we can do well and we just need to continue to make them work.”
The Canajoharie Lady Cougars picked up the first sectional championship in the history of the girls soccer program Wednesday with a 3-0 shut out over Waterford-Halfmoon.
Now they will turn their attention to Ellenburg Depot’s Northern Adirondack High School.
The Bobcats advanced to the regional championship match in Plattsburgh with a 3-2 win over Section X champion Brought-Moira on Wednesday.
“I have been looking at some newspaper articles from up there and they have a couple of scorers who tend to work off each other,” Canajoharie coach Ellee Fichthorn said. “I have seen the names of four or five girls who could be possible threats, but that is the only information I have.”
The Lady Cougars were able to exploit their overall team speed on the Stillwater turf, a trend that Fichthorn said she hopes to see continue in Plattsburgh.
“That is what we have been saying all season, turf is exactly what we need to play our style game, the quick ball to the outside and they [wings Arianna and Jordyn Logan] can fly with it. They are fun to watch. My assistant and I have said we think the whole team has come up a whole level of play this season on speed and footwork. We are so proud of the whole team and are excited for them to do well.”
The Canajoharie defense also has been a key element in the team’s success, going unscored upon through sectional play, while the offense has put up 21 goals.
“Thursday we were a little tired but the kids have been really excited and are pumped about playing in regionals,” Fichthorn said. “They have been working especially hard on the drills that we really need to go full speed for. We also just took it a little bit easy Thursday.”
Fichthorn said the Lady Cougars’ game plan for today against Northern Adirondack is simple, “We are going to play our game and try to get them to play our game. The kids just want to keep doing well and continue on.”
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship will be played Nov. 16 and 17 at SUNY Cortland.