Scoring chances have been ridiculously hard to come by for opponents of the Elmira Notre Dame girls soccer team this fall. So when Trumansburg’s quality opportunities were turned away Tuesday afternoon in a Section 4 Class C girls soccer semifinal, the Blue Raiders had to know their shot an upset took a big hit.
With a defense that has yielded only three goals all season backed by some stellar play from goalie Mackenzie Maloney, the top-seeded Crusaders ended up with a 2-0 victory at Brewer Memorial Stadium to return to the Class C final for the second straight year.
Maura Glovins scored for Notre Dame (15-1) seven minutes, 32 seconds into the game and Jillian Perrault added a second-half goal off an Emma Booth assist 3:35 into the second half.
“It was a great effort,” Crusaders head coach Steve Weber said. “Trumansburg’s got an outstanding team. They’re one of the teams that can actually match us speed-wise and they’re bigger than us at most of the positions. A lot of times that will give us trouble. But today we were just working so hard, getting to every 50/50 ball.
“Maloney came up big for us in the goal. She hasn’t had a lot of opportunities for us some games, but she works incredibly hard in practice and that really came through for her today.”
Notre Dame will face second-seeded Lansing (13-4-1) in the championship game at 5 p.m. Friday at Norwich High School. Lansing was a 3-0 winner over Notre Dame in last year’s final, denying the Crusaders a seventh sectional title under Weber. Lansing beat Marathon, 5-1, in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
“Any year you can make it (to the sectional final), we’re going to be really proud to be able to get that far,” Weber said. “But we’ve still got some work to do. We want to go and definitely play better than what we played last year.”
The Crusaders broke through Tuesday when Glovins booted a hard shot off a Trumansburg player and into the goal following a corner kick.
Perrault’s goal came on a shot in front of Blue Raiders goalie Madison Mikula that was set up by a cross from Booth from near the sideline.
“We really wanted to attack them wide if we could,” Weber said. “We felt we were strong there. They made some changes in the first half that took some of that away from us, our wide attack. But we wanted to come out and try to exploit it if we could early in the second half. Emma did a great job on the outside just being able to get the ball off. It was a great ball right in the front and Jill finished it well.”
The best chances for fourth-seeded Trumansburg (11-6) came in the first half. A direct kick led to a shot right in front of Maloney, but a Crusaders defender kicked the ball away at the last second to preserve the 1-0 advantage. Maloney finished with four saves.
Even with the loss, Trumansburg head coach Scott Stewart described his team’s effort as “outstanding.”
“We had our opportunities today and we wanted to come over here and just create some opportunities,” he said. “I think that we did. The ball just didn’t bounce the way we wanted it to today. I think our girls played really well and we’re really proud of them.”
Earlier this season, Notre Dame handed the Blue Raiders a 4-0 loss in the championship game of the Lady Crusaders Tournament at Notre Dame. Defense has been a strength all season for Notre Dame, with the only blemish a 2-0 loss to Dryden in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Large School championship game. Notre Dame was coming off a 7-0 win over Sidney in the sectional quarterfinals.
“Our defenders are just tough. They’ve been solid all year,” Weber said. “They work together really well in the back. Sara Watts has come a long way since the beginning of the season. She’s gotten a lot more confidence in the back. (Victoria Schutrum) and Mackenzie Mahajan, they’ve been strong all year long. And our midfield really recovers. That’s our whole thing — try to think defense first. Then we try to counter and push the pace.”
Notre Dame put 23 shots on Mikula, who finished with 11 saves. Trumansburg ended up with four shots and two corner kicks, five fewer than the Crusaders.
“They play really good team defense,” Stewart said of Notre Dame. “We knew that coming in. Steve has a great program. We needed to move the ball to the outside more and try to go from the outside in, but they made it hard for us to do that. It was difficult for us to score, for sure.”
On Twitter: @SGAndrewLegare