J-D drops heartbreaker to Pearl River in state semifinals

Jamesville-DeWitt fell prey to a 78th-minute goal by Pearl River, dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Class A girls’ soccer state playoffs.

With just more than two minutes remaining, Pearl River’s Julia Pozzuto sent a one-touch through ball to Katie McNally in the middle of the J-D box. McNally took the ball running to her left and squeezed a shot under charging Red Rams goalkeeper Katie Cappelletti for the game’s only goal.

J-D managed its best chance of the game in the last two minutes as the Red Rams pushed for an equalizer. Grace Thomas and Lainey Foti managed to push their way through the right side of the Pirates defense, but Foti’s left-footed blast from 10 yards was pushed just wide by Pearl River goalkeeper Katherine Carstensen, preserving the win for Pearl River.

“I’m really proud of this team and all that we accomplished this year,” said J-D head coach Hayley Nies. “We graduated a lot of players last year so to come back and make the state final four is quite an accomplishment for these girls.”

The J-D offense was largely stifled for the other 80 minutes of play. While the Red Rams enjoyed more of the possession in the early going, Pearl River created the better scoring opportunities in the first 20 minutes. The Red Rams were able to connect passes in their defensive half, but the Pirates were able to dispossess in dangerous areas. In the seventh minute, Pearl River’s Cate Feerick grabbed a steal 25 yards from goal, sending a shot just wide.

J-D was able to work the ball forward, eventually earning its first corner in the 18th minute, but did not generate any clear scoring chances.

We tried to get them to play with a little less fear,” Nies said. “I think we played a little tight today, and it didn’t work out.”

The Pirates continued to up the defensive pressure, eliminating J-D’s spells of possession and creating a number of dangerous opportunities in the last 15 minutes of the half. In the 26th minute, Pearl River’s Kaleigh Miederich played a ball down the left flank to Kylie McNally. Her cross took a deflection past the right hand of the advancing Cappelletti, but the ball was cleared off the line.

The Pirates generated several other opportunities in the closing minutes, but at the break the score remained 0-0.

Pearl River dialed up even more pressure early in the second half, not allowing the Red Rams to pass out of the back. J-D responded by moving Foti, the…

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