Haldane earned a return trip to the state Class C championship game Saturday with an overtime win over the Section 5 Avon Braves. The Blue Devils will face the Lansing Bobcats of Section 4 Sunday morning in the state championship. Below is Mike Dougherty’s write-up and extra notes about Haldane’s semifinal win. Photos are by Chris Kitchen. (Above: Marina Martin, 9, battles for control of the ball. –Nancy)
CORTLAND After finally getting a ball in the net, Marina Martin popped up, frantically looking around for confirmation.
The referee saw it, too.
Martin headed in a perfect crossing pass from Allie Monteleone in the first of two mandatory overtime periods Saturday and Bailey McCollum added one more for good measure, propelling Haldane to a 2-0 win over Avon in an NYSPHSAA Class C semifinal at Cortland High School.
The Blue Devils launched 20 shots before finishing.
“I was kind of alone, by myself, and I was like, ‘This is it. This is it,’ ” Martin said. “And then when the goalkeeper almost got it and pulled it back across the line I was like, ‘No. No. No. That was over. We’re done.’ We had a lot of opportunities so I’m glad we finally got a few to connect.”
Haldane (15-4) is through to the championship game for the second year in a row and will play Lansing (Section 4) at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at SUNY Cortland.
“We’re coming back and we want revenge,” said McCollum, who got tripped in the box and converted a penalty kick in the final two minutes of the first overtime. “We’ve had so much motivation, and we know what it takes now to win it.”
The Blue Devils lost 2-1 to Holland 2-1 in last year’s final.
Haldane did not seem to have any jitters in the opening minutes and was on the ball for a majority of the first 10 minutes.
Scoring chances were not easy to come by, though. There was a lengthy pause at the 27:36 mark while an ambulance responded to take an injured Avon player to the hospital. Staying warm during the break was a priority. The game resumed after nearly 30 minutes, and the Blue Devils again took control.
Avon goalie Amy Faville made very few mistakes, flustering Haldane with 11 saves. The game became physical in the last 10 minutes of the half.
The near misses continued into the second half, along with the jostling. The Braves (17-5-1) began to connect on the long ball late, but Blue Devils goalie, Sara Labriola, and fullback Missy Lisikatos were there each time for the breakup.
“The girls understand the game and are able to change things,” Haldane coach Gary Van Asselt said. “We told them to have a little more composure and do the things that got us here, and they took care of business.”
Notes: Haldane, whose won-loss record is deceiving since its regular-season schedule was stacked with teams from much bigger schools, entered the game ranked No. 1 in the state in Class C. … Martin said of Monteleone, who’ll play basketball for Pace next year, “Allie’s crosses are insane, always so good. That’s usually how we get our goals.” … Martin admitted being frustrated before the OT, during which, she said, the Blue Devils were “able to connect the passes and play the way we play.” … McCollum described Haldane as being nervous early on and said, “Our touches weren’t right.” But, as the game progressed, she was confident Haldane would score. “We just kept shooting and shooting and knew we’d eventually get one. We just had to connect our passes and not give up.” “We knew we could beat them with speed on the edges, so that’s what we were trying to do,” she added. .. Both Martin and McCollum appeared confident about the championship game. Martin said the Blue Devils are out for revenge because they should have won last year. “We’ve had so much motivation and we know what it takes now to win it,” McCollum said. … (Photo above: Tobey Kane-Seitz , 16, tries to head off Eva Embury, 13, as Missy Lisikatos, 12, looks on. )