DeWitt Brent Ostrander finally gets his chance to coach high school soccer at the varsity level – on the girls side.
For nearly a quarter-century, Ostrander had led the Fayetteville-Manlius junior varsity boys soccer team, molding the players that the varsity team, under Jeff Hammond, would later take to a string of league and Section III titles.
But when the girls varsity soccer job at F-M opened up after Kory McMahon’s departure, Ostrander was named as his successor, coming to a program that has proven a regular title contender, but hasn’t won a sectional championship since 1996.
The program Ostrander inherits took a serious hit when 12 seniors, including Alexis Muraco, Alex Lunderman, Rachel Dise, Kenzie Kingsley and Alexa Restante, graduated from a squad that again reached the sectional semifinals, only to fall to eventual champion Cicero-North Syracuse.
Just three seniors are part of the Hornets’ roster this fall, with a lot of sophomores, freshmen and even three eighth-graders making the varsity cut. They all would get a severe test at the outset, and nearly passed it.
Jamesville-DeWitt, winners of the last five sectional Class A championships, hosted F-M in the Aug. 29 season opener, and it started out as a rout, only to turn into a nail-biter that the Red Rams were all too glad to escape with a 2-1 victory.
Unlike the Hornets, J-D lost just three seniors from its 2013 squad, but that included goalie Ally Butler and sweeper Maggie Austin. Thus, Maddy Frank, long a defensive standout, moved into the net, while Chloe Hayward gained a starting spot on the back line.
Both would prove important – but only after a blazing start by J-D’s young and aggressive attack. It took less than five minutes for Alex Fontana to score and put the Rams up 1-0, and less than three minutes later, Paige Sherling, who assisted on Fontana’s goal, took a pass from Alex Catanzarita and beat F-M netminder Haley Everding.