CORTLAND — Chazy coach Karin Sherman was making her fifth appearance in the girls’ final four Saturday, so she’s seen her fair share of New York’s top Class D teams.
Following her latest trip to the state semifinals, Sherman said Jasper-Troupsburg is “probably the best” team she has ever seen.
The Wildcats earned Sherman’s high praise with a dominating effort against her Eagles, scoring twice in the second half while shutting down Chazy in a 2-0 victory that sends them into today’s NYSPHSAA Class D championship game against Section III’s Poland.
“That’s a very strong team that we lost to,” Sherman said.
Jasper-Troupsburg (21-1) controlled the middle of the field, constantly threatened in their attacking third and allowed little penetration by the Eagles’ offense. The No. 2-state ranked Wildcats held a 14-3 advantage in shots — and all of Chazy’s ended as easy saves for Elizabeth Groff.
Despite the loss, the No. 3-ranked Eagles (16-3-10) got back to their title-winning ways this season after falling to Elizabethtown-Lewis last season in the Section VII Class D final. Chazy defeated Moriah in the sectional title game this year and knocked off Section X’s Chateaugay to win the regional championship.
Sherman was fighting back tears when talking about this year’s squad.
“This is a team that had a lot of heart and drive to get back here,” Sherman said. “My high school team, it was 25 years to the date we won our state championship. I tell them all the time how hard it is to get here.
“I’m just proud of them and we’ll be back. Definitely, we’ll be back.”
But a chance for a third state title in four years was halted by the Section V champion.
The score could have been worse if not for a strong effort from Chazy senior netminder Logan Baker, who was playing with a broken finger suffered in the win against Chateaugay. Baker scooped up several dangerous passes and finished with seven saves, none bigger or more impressive than the one she made with 2:14 left in the first half.
Jasper-Troupsburg’s Kendall Austin, who tallied 27 goals this season, got a breakaway and went one-on-one with Baker, who charged forward and deflected the shot away to keep the game scoreless going into the half.
“She’s one of the greatest keepers we’ve ever had, and she gives it her all,” Chazy senior Amber Polomsky said. “She made a fantastic save.”
Sherman said her team was lucky to get out of the opening 40 minutes without a deficit.
The Eagles got lucky again early in the second half when a rebound bounced off the left post. They weren’t so lucky on the game’s first goal.
During a scrum in front of the net six minutes in, a ball was deflected off a Chazy player and past Baker. Kelsey Austin was credited with the game-winner for the Wildcats.
“We were even with them for a while, and that goal was an unlucky one for us, but like I said, they could have had a couple of goals,” Sherman said.
Jasper-Troupsburg got some cushion midway through the second half when Kaitlin Huyler, the team’s leading scorer, got some separation from her defender and grounded her shot to the left of a diving Baker.
“That was definitely the best team we’ve played all season, and we tried — we defended the ball, we contained, we got the balls in the air,” Baker said. “We did everything that we were supposed to do and played our game.”
For Polomsky, the 2013 season will stand out as “probably the greatest” for her.
“The team was the closest I think we’ve ever had it, and the fact we were able to get back here after we didn’t last year I think says a lot,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be here with any other team.”
Baker said the Eagles were more a family than a team this year.
“We depend on each other and work for each other,” she said. “They’re going to have a good team next year, too.”
Jasper-Troupsburg 2, Chazy 0
Jasper-Troupsburgh 0 2 —2
Chazy 0 0 — 0
Second half- 1, JT, Kel. Austin, 6:12. 2, JT, Huyler (Prutsman), 21:48.
Shots: Jasper-Troupsburg 14, Chazy 3.
Saves: Baker, C, 7. Groff, JT, 3.