IRONDEQUOIT – When this whole Section V soccer championship run started for the Webster Thomas girls, the seniors on this year’s team were eighth-graders. As freshmen, they watched the Titans fail to win.
But they haven’t since.
Second-seeded Thomas came from behind on Monday night to beat No. 1 Hilton, 3-2, to capture a third straight Class AA championship and fourth in the past five years. The Titans (13-2-4) will play Section VI’s Clarence in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. state tournament quarterfinals at Webster Schroeder.
“It’s exciting. I started sobbing when we won I was so happy,” said senior Erin Tersegno, who scored the go-ahead goal in a wild, back-and-forth first half when all five goals were scored.
The speedy forward is one of four seniors — midfielders Nicole Gerritz and Marley Jarvis and goalie Kamryn Peffley — who’ve been a part of the past three title teams. Elena Lewis, a forward, is the team’s other senior.
The Webster Thomas varsity girls soccer toeam celebrates winning the Section V Class AA trophy with a 3-2 win over Hilton on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014.
“It was all about peaking at the right time. That’s something we always talk about,” coach Scott Brown said.
It was Hilton (14-2-3), appearing in its first title game since 1991, that started fast Monday at Eastridge High. The Cadets, who hadn’t lost in 17 straight matches, all the way back to their opener against Pittsford Mendon, went ahead 1-0 just 3½ minutes into the match. The goal came on a wonderful strike by Kyndal Hetzel. The sophomore drilled a 20-yard shot from the left side over Peffley’s head and into the upper netting on the far side.
“Unstoppable — that was an amazing shot,” Peffley said.
But 5½ minutes later Thomas tied it when All-Greater Rochester junior defender Madison Mason – another member of the past three title teams – launched a 37-yard free kick at goal. It took one high bounce and junior Vanessa L’Abbate was caught leaning. The AGR goalie back-pedaled and jumped. She caught the ball but landed inside the goal.
Thomas took its first lead in the 15th minute when Tersegno scored her ninth goal, finishing a cross in front by freshman Jada Lucarelli. But Hilton drew at 2 even seven minutes later when Leslie Graus sent a free kick in front and sophomore Allyson Strauss buried it after another big hop off the turf.
But just like last year’s 1-0 win over rival Webster Schroeder in the championship, Gerritz delivered an improbable winning goal. Last season it came on a 35-yard shot. On Monday, she was near the end line right of goal when she lined a cross in front. It hit the far-side post and caromed in for her 11th goal.
“It was a cross,” Gerritz said with a smile, admitting it didn’t come off a shot. “I don’t know how it went in.”
Gerritz, who scored on a breakaway to beat Schroeder in the semifinals, has been clutch throughout her career. It’s a product of toughness and hard work, Brown said.
“I think everyone on our team rises up at a certain moment, whether it’s a defensive play or scoring,” Gerritz said.
After giving up only eight goals in 18 matches, including a pair in a 2-2 tie with Thomas on Sept. 25, Hilton had surrendered three in 32 minutes. “The game took a pace we were unaccustomed to. I think the second-half pace was more our style game,” said Hilton coach Steve Sorensen, whose tough-luck team reached the semifinals in 2012 and 2013 only to lose to Thomas and Schroeder, respectively.
“We had our opportunities in the second half we just weren’t able to put it in the goal.”