By JOHN CORYER
POTSDAM — The Chateaugay girls’ soccer team had it share of scoring chances Saturday.
However, it took until Hannah Cook’s goal at 3:32 of the first overtime to give the Section X champions a 1-0 victory over Section VII winner Elizabethtown-Lewis in NYSPHSAA Class D regional championship play at Potsdam High School.
The win sends the unbeaten Bulldogs (20-0) into the Class D Final Four.
“It’s amazing,” said Chateaugay senior forward Alexis Beach, who assisted on Cook’s game-winning goal. “We’ve wanted this for a while and had to work really hard for it.
It’s exciting to be going to the Final Four.”
Chateaugay held a 15-5 advantage in shots, but the Lions’ defense held tough.
The Bulldogs, however, were finally able to break through when Beach got the ball to Cook, who sent a low shot from the left of the E’town-Lewis net into the far corner.
“I know I was getting frustrated that we weren’t scoring any goals,” said Beach. “But, we felt confident after we got the first one.”
“It was one of our toughest games of the season, with the others being against larger schools,” said Chateaugay coach Steve Lang. “We were able to find a way to win.
“Give Elizabethtown-Lewis credit — their kids are good. They defended well and it was a good game to watch. It was a hard-fought game.”
With the Lions (12-7-1) small on numbers and short on depth, the Bulldogs substituted several players in and out.
“Our game plan was to try to wear them down,” said Lang. “But, the substitutions were also made to keep us fresh.”
“We started to run out of gas near the end of the second half,” said E’town-Lewis coach Steve Denton. “It was a really good game and Chateaugay is good, strong and fast. They also played great defense and won a lot of 50-50 balls.
“But, absolutely, our girls gave it all they had.”
The Lions, with the likes of leading scorers Emily Morris and Kylee Cassavaugh, were always dangerous as the game went on.
“Overall, we played well,” said Lang. “But I wish we would have finished more. We either sent shots at their goalie or missed the net.
“I did, however, feel our line of Alexis Beach, Katie Beach and Courtney Boyea played well.”
Makayla Fleury played almost the entire game in net for the Bulldogs and made five saves. Fleury went out of the game for a brief time with an injury and was replaced by Holly Zeldenrust, who was not called upon to make a save. Fleury’s best save came when she deflected an E’town-Lewis shot over the crossbar in the second half.
It was the fourth shutout in a row in postseason play for the Bulldogs, who blanked three opponents while winning the Section X crown.
Kearsten Ashline turned aside 12 of 13 shots in goal for the Lions. She was injured for a time in the first half and Emma Disogra took her place and made two saves.
“It was a great season for our small squad,” said Denton. “It’s sad we weren’t able to go to the Final Four, but we were able to win a sectional championship and I felt we represented Section VII well today.”
Chateaugay will play in the Final Four semifinals at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Tompkins-Cortland Community College against an opponent to be determined. Loudonville Christian will play either Smithtown Christian or Livingston Christian on Tuesday to determine the Bulldogs’ opponent.
“It’s going to be our second trip to the Final Four and it feels real good,” said Lang.
Elizabethtown-Lewis 0 0 0 0 — 0
Chateaugay 0 0 1 0 — 1
First overtime- 1, C, H. Cook (A. Beach), 3:32.
Shots: Chateaugay 15, Elizabethtown-Lewis 5.
Saves: Fleury (5), Zeldenrust (0), C, 5. Ashline (12), Disogra (2), E-L, 14.