WEBSTER — The Spencerport girls soccer team was the top seed in Class A last year when it lost in the opening round to No. 9 Brighton. It’s a memory the Rangers never quite let go of. Maybe after Saturday’s effort they can.
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No. 1 seed Spencerport edged No. 7 Aquinas, 2-0, at Webster Schroeder to capture its first title since 2007. The Rangers (19-0-1) have been one of the area’s best teams all fall and now they head to the state tournament. They’ll play the Buffalo-area champion from Section VI at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Far West Regionals at State University College at Geneseo.
“It’s just so exciting, especially because we were favored last year and we let down early (and lost),” said junior midfielder Luca Fahmer, who scored the game-winning goal on a 26-yard shot 2½ minutes into the second half. “To make it all the way this time is really exciting.”
Even though Spencerport, which won the first Section V title for girls soccer in 1973, dictated play most of the match, Aquinas (10-6-4) sent a few scares into the Rangers’ faithful. But sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Opladen and her defense were flawless, like they’ve been almost all fall. Spencerport’s sixth straight shutout gives it 14 this season.
“We just play together. We switch people off. We’re always talking who our marks (are). We’re always rooting for each other,” sophomore stopper Olivia Wall said. “It’s never just about one person. It’s about a whole team effort. We always have to work together, from the forwards putting pressure on their defense back to us.”
The Rangers didn’t get the clinching goal until 2:54 remained, as sophomore Venessa Watson sent a cross in front that goalkeeper Erica Knapp dived to grab. The ball trickled away and Aleah Martone ran it in. She also had a goal and assist in the semifinals. She nearly scored on a good, low header late in the first half but Knapp saved it.
Isabella DiGuardi also hit the crossbar from 28 yards on a shot with 17½ minutes left. “We were pretty happy when that second one went in,” veteran coach Jamie Schneider said.
He knows how cruel soccer can be. All Aquinas had to do was convert once. “We scouted Aquinas pretty well and we knew we had some threats up top. We knew that we had to keep organized,” he said.
He also knew just how good his team is; Spencerport has outscored opponents, 55-6. Sophomore Erin Coykendall has 20 goals and 8 assists; classmate Leah Wengender has 10 goals and 11 assists and Fahmer (7G/5A), Martone (3G/5A) and Watson (3G/3A) are other threats.
Fahmer surprised even herself a bit on her goal. Aquinas gave her too much space and she just tried to get something on goal.
“When I do score it’s usually a (long) shot, it’s not usually close on the keeper,” Fahmer said. “I was going to go with my right foot but then I saw space to my left, so I cut it back. I really didn’t look up.”