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Salmon River girls advance past OFA in Class B soccer opener

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FORT COVINGTON – It’s win or go home time. Fortunately for the Salmon River girls varsity soccer team, it was a win. The SRC girls edged the visiting OFA Blue Devils 1-0 in Section 10 Class B playoff action on Monday. The victory advances the Shamrocks to Wednesday’s semifinal game against the top-seeded Potsdam Sandstoners. The semifinal contest will begin at 3 p.m. on the Sandstoners’ turf field in Potsdam. The other semfinal matchup has the third-seeded Gouverneur Wildcats traveling to the second seeded Canton Golden Bears, which will also start at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The two victors will vie for the Class B crown The two Northern Athletic Conference Central Division rivals battled to a scoreless draw over the initial 40 minutes, with the Shamrocks striking for the game’s only goal with 11 minutes, 53 seconds remaining in regulation. Salmon River’s Jaiden Mitchell received a pass from Jenna Thompson inside the 18, directly in front of OFA goalie Alicia Garcia (4 saves), a JV callup, and touched the ball past the scrambling keeper. Mitchell chased after the sphere as it rolled untouched into the net, then celebrated with teammates in the crease area. “I’m glad that we finally put one away,” said Salmon River coach Liz Durfee, whose charges provided her with her first career playoff victory. “We definitely had our chances to score in the first half. “OFA gave us a good run for our money. They really came to play and kept coming at us all game long,” continued Durfee. “This game could have gone either way.” Yes, coach, it could have gone either way. The Blue Devils took off from the start and carried the play to the Shamrocks for most of the first half, but only managed a couple of shots at SRC goalie Wraven Sunday (5 saves). The Salmon River defenders limited the Devils to weak attempts from outside the 18 for most of the half, except for a flurry midway through the opening 40 minutes when OFA clanked a shot off the post to the right of Sunday. The SRC girls apparently listened to the halftime speech from Durfee, as the girls came out to start the second half all fired up and almost immediately turned the tide on the Blue Devils and pinned them inside their own zone for the first few minutes of the second half. The two squads went up and down the field, to no avail, with Salmon River having the better of the quality chances at the game’s first goal and grazed the post once and sent three shots into the netting on the outside of the goal. All of that action preceeded the Mitchell score. But the one goal did not deter theLady Devils, as they continued to roar back and pinned the Salmon River girls deep inside their own zone for the remainder of the game. OFA came as close as a team can come to scoring, without actually putting the ball on the goal – clanking a shot off the top of the goal where the post rises up and meets the crossbar. That close call came with approximately seven and a half minutes left in the game, and as it turned out, the season for the Blue Devils (2-14). The Shamrocks weathered the OFA storm and contained the play in between the 18s for the remainder of the contest and walked away with their first playoff victory in three seasons. The win for SRC advances the team to a Class B semi-final contest against Potsdam on Wednesday. “We might try some different things on Wednesday against Potsdam,” pondered Durfee. “I’m not sure at this point exactly what we will do, but we will do the best we can and see what happens.” Salmon River and Potsdam will begin their semi-final contest at 3 p.m. on the Sandstoners’ turf field. The other semifinal has Gouverneur traveling to Canton, also with a 3 p.m. first touch.

BOYS SOCCER

In the lone Section 10 boys soccer playoff action on Monday, Brushton-Moira outlasted St. Lawrence Central 1-0 in the first round of the Class C tournament.

Darren LeBlanc broke through for the only goal of the game when he finished off a play set up by Patrick McKernan with 10 minutes left in regulation.

Taylor Tallman made 13 saves backstopping the shutout while Hadyn St. Hilaire turned aside 10 of the shots he faced working the crease for the Larries (1-14-1).

The Panthers (3-8-4) will now get set to take on top-seeded Norwood-Norfolk in the Class C final slated for Saturday at the SUNY Canton turf field starting at 3:30 p.m. The girls Class C championship game is slated to be staged beforehand, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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