Kayla Greco | Democrat
Eldred’s Jordan Lepes (18) leaps to control ball and maintain possession during Saturday’s state regional final. Lepes scored the winning goal with just 17 seconds remaining.
Story by Kayla Greco
MIDDLETOWN November 12, 2013 They say to win championships, talent only takes you so far. A little luck helps you get over the hump.
For the Eldred girls’ soccer team, a fortuitous bounce off a St. Johnsville defender provided Jordan Lepes with a scoring opportunity with just 17 seconds left in a tie game. She eluded the goalie and popped the ball into the empty net giving the Yellowjackets an amazing 2-1 victory Saturday in the state Class D quarterfinals played at Middletown’s Faller Field.
Eldred (10-7-1) now advances to the state Final Four Saturday at Thompkins-Cortland Community College in Cortland. They will play Poland (17-2) of Section 3, who advanced with a 4-0 victory over Milford Central. Game time is 12 noon.
The outcome was even more improbable considering that St. Johnsville (15-3-1) dominated the game from the start, scoring just five minutes in. From there St. Johnsville would go on to put 23 more shots on goal as they dominated time of possession. When Eldred did get the ball past midfield, they were greeted by a wall of defenders. Freshman Lynzee Kelty was able to crack through with just 45 seconds left in the first half to even the score at 1.
Eldred goalie Jenna Burns was superb in goal, withstanding the St. Johnsville onslaught and keeping the Yellowjackets in the game.
“They dominated the whole second half but our goalkeeper Jenny was phenomenal back there,” said Eldred coach JJ Gass. “She really kept us in the game.
St. Johnsville had a penalty kick with 29 minutes left in the second half after an unintentional handball in the penalty box by Eldred junior Angie Schadt. But Tabea Salzmann sailed the free kick right of the goal, keeping the score tied.
Gass knew the game could go either way and thought it would be a one goal game. He was overjoyed it went his way.
“We caught a lucky break with a weird bounce with the turf,” said Gass. “ But we did all those little things and they add up to a lot.”