Chittenango So the Jamesville-DeWitt girls soccer team is one win away from a fourth consecutive Section III Class A championship - but it almost didn't get there.
The no. 2 seed Red Rams battled with no. 3 seed Camden through all 80 minutes of Tuesday night's Class A semifinal at Chittenango High Schoool, relying on the vast skills of Maddy Devereaux and Jessica Holmes to fend off the Blue Devils 2-1.
With a 12-4-1 record, Camden was just a notch below Whitesboro as the top sides in the Tri-Valley League and had smashed Watertown 7-1 in the quarterfinals to get its shot at the three-time champs.
However, the first half offered a J-D clinic in how to control the game, as it constantly moved into the Blue Devils’ end and probed, searching for good chances.
Half an hour passed, though, before the Rams finally got a 1-0 lead, Holmes, off a long and accurate pass from Devereaux, crushed a 25-yard shot just past Camden goalie Cassilyn Wolff.
Camden absorbed this blow, kept J-D from expanding its lead and, early in the second half, applied its own heavy pressure. This continued until the 56th minute, when goalie Emily Butler charged out to meet a Blue Devils push, but Hayley Kelly rolled it past her into the net.
Fired up by this, Camden nearly went ahead two minutes later, but with Butler out of position, Maddy Frank scrambled back and hit the ball out just before it crossed the goal line.
Somehow, J-D retained its poise and turned to its lone pair of seniors. In the 65th minute, again Devereaux made the well-timed pass, and again Holmes took full advantage, shooting it past Wolff for what proved to be the game-winner.
After Camden provided one more push in the final minute, the Rams held on, advancing to the Class A final - and a rematch with Whitesboro, whom it beat in the finals a year ago.
The top-seeded Warriors needed its own second-half comeback to get past Fulton by that same 2-1 margin in the other semifinal, Mariah Williams and Jennifer Deuel getting the late goals.