When Webster Thomas opened the season, coach Scott Brown admitted, “there were more question marks than answers,” for his Titans, who had lost seven seniors, including All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year Leah Emaus.
“But we knew we had talent,” Brown said. “It was just a matter of jelling with each other, getting comfortable with each other. … We’re playing our best soccer right now.”
After Wednesday night, no one can argue that everything hasn’t come together quite nicely for the Titans. Second-seeded Thomas topped No. 5 Churchville-Chili, 2-1, at Schroeder High School to capture its second Section V Class AA championship in three seasons. It also won in 2010 with a high-powered roster that reached the state final. The Titans (13-4-2) will play in Saturday’s 7 p.m. state quarterfinals or Far West Regionals at Schroeder against Section VI champion Orchard Park.
“It’s a great group of girls,” Thomas goalkeeper Brenna Mason said. “The team chemistry is just so strong.”
Junior defender Audrey Yokopovich’s penalty kick, earned after sophomore Erin Tersegno was tackled in the box with 6:13 left to play, was the difference. Thomas started strong, too, against an upstart Saints’ squad that was coming off Friday’s 1-0 upset of top-seeded and previously undefeated Fairport.
The Titans went ahead 1-0 just more than 10 minutes into the match when sophomore Nicole Gerritz barely slipped a 19-yard shot past diving goalkeeper Karley Renehan. It stayed that way until midway through the second half, but C-C (12-8) was a different team after intermission. Coach Mary Kay Maslanka said her players talked about being more aggressive.
“At halftime we just talked a little bit about what’s made us so successful and it has been a crazy confidence that only we had,” she said.
Standout midfielder Bella Mitrevski played more forward in the attack and that “created a lot of havoc for us,” Brown admitted. Just three minutes after intermission, freshman defender Madison Mason, Brenna’s sister, broke up a scoring chance for Carly Zimmerman.
You could feel a goal coming, though, and Mitrevski’s corner kick set it up. Junior Taylor Fletcher tied it with 23:54 remaining by jumping inside the 6-yard box on the far post and volleying in the corner.
That’s when the savvy kicked in from some of the veterans who remained on Thomas and some of the newcomers who have developed it.