Youthful Kendall squad set for state semis
Looking to keep an outstanding postseason run going Kendall’s underclassmen dominated girls soccer squad will take on Cincinnatus High (Section III) in the state Class D semifinals at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Homer High School near Cortland.
Kendall, whose lineup includes seven freshmen, five sophomores, four juniors and only three seniors, advanced to the state semis for the first time since 2003 by nipping North Collins 1-0 in the Far West Regional. The Lady Eagles earned the narrow win on junior Hailee Mitchell’s team leading 27th goal of the season with just 3:48 remaining.
The Lady Eagles, who have given up only two goals and five playoff games, reached the regional by nipping Fillmore 2-1 for the Class D1 title contest and then by downing Hinsdale 2-0 in the Section V Class D state qualifier.
“Getting to the state semi finals is a testament to the drive and passion that this young Kendall team possesses,” said Coach Pam Barchett. “Achieving this level of success really shows my athletes that they can accomplish their goals through hard work and team work, which obviously extends beyond the soccer field.”
In addition to Mitchell’s 27 goals, the Lady Eagles also have freshman Grace Levett with 11, sophomore Brianna Wakefield and freshman Alezya Brown both with 9 and sophomore Lizzy Woodams with 6.
Goalie Katherine Pearson and center defender Lizzie Sutphen, both juniors, anchor the Lady Eagles defense.
Kendall brings a 16-5 record into the semis.
Undefeated Cincinnatus, which has a near perfect 19-0-1 record, defeated Downsville (Section IV) 1-0 in the Central Regional. Cncinnatus has registered 14 shutouts and has allowed a total of just six goals this season.
Senior Delaney Rutan leads the Lady Lions in scoring with 41 goals as eighth grader Kyla Sustad has 21 and senior Montana Wolf 12.
“We’re very optimistic entering this weekend’s State Tournament; we definitely will have to step up our level of play to compete with teams like Cincinnatus (who has only allowed 6 goals all season),” said Barchett. “We are continuing to push our possession game, focusing on creating space by using the width of the field. Hopefully this attacking strategy will pay off for us. Defensively, we’re continuing to refine our game plan and make sure we stay organized in the back field.”
Kendall’s only other appearance in the state semis was in 2003 when the Lady Eagles dropped a narrow 3-2 decision to Elmira Notre Dame. Interestingly, Barchett was a junior starting defender on that team.
The victor will face the winner of the Fort Ann (Section II) vs. Eldred (Section IX) semi in the championship game at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Thompkins Cortland Community College.