By Rob Tucker
With just 50 seconds remaining in the 10-minute overtime period, Ashley Skelly of Jamestown Community College, fourth in the region in goals with 11, found herself alone on a breakaway with only Onondaga CC goalkeeper Sophie Jackson to beat.
Nicole Mahoney of Jamestown Community College slide tackles against an Onondaga CC player during Saturday’s NJCAA Region 3 Division III women’s soccer game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Rob Tucker
Jackson, knowing her best and only option was to charge Skelly and cut the angle, did just that and as Skelly sent her low shot past the sliding goaltender the JCC sophomore raised her arms.
She raised her arms not in celebration, however, but in frustration.
Skelly's shot, which would have given the JCC women's soccer team a hard-fought, 1-0 victory over visiting Onondaga. Instead, it hit the post and bounced harmlessly away.
Another 10-minute overtime period later, however, and the NJCAA Region 3 Division III bout that spanned 110 minutes ended in a scoreless draw.
"We certainly had our opportunities," JCC coach Dana Shelters said. "They were just missed opportunities. We couldn't cash them in."
Though disappointed, the result was still a solid one for the Jayhawks (4-4-2, 2-4-2) against one of the top teams in Region 3. Heading into the contest they were 8-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
"I was telling the girls - because they were disappointed in not winning the game - that a tie absolutely is not a bad result,'' Shelters said. ''This was an eight-win team, a playoff team. And this result is going to advance us towards the playoffs."
While Skelly's late breakaway was the best opportunity among any player to score, both teams had chances.
The Jayhawks fired nine shots on goal at Jackson, the fourth-ranked goaltender in the region with a .885 save percentage, while the Lazers managed six against JCC goalie Emily Pleszewski, herself a solid keeper who ranks sixth in the region with a save percentage of .865.
But while the Onondaga defense allowed a couple of very good scoring chances, Pleszewski, along with a defense in front of her that included Kelsey Fish, Meghan Wilcox and Mary Lucas, among others, didn't allow much in the way of offense for the Lazers at all.
"Meghan Wilcox has just outstanding back there," Shelters said, "and we really didn't allow them many opportunities all game - maybe one or two. So I think our defense played really well and worked very hard."
JCC's first chance to score came in the first half, also on a breakaway, when Olivia Sinatra gained control of the ball onsides behind the defense following a clear by Wilcox. Sinatra attempted to chip the ball over Jackson, but the shot sailed wide.
Despite the outcome, Shelters believes his team, which hasn't suffered defeat in four games, is playing its best soccer of the season.
"We're playing our best right now (and today) we outplayed them, we deserved to win that game but we just couldn't get it," Shelters said. "I know the girls were disappointed with the tie but this was a playoff-quality team so they shouldn't hang their heads."
The Jayhawks are back in action on Tuesday at 2 p.m. when they play at Mercyhurst North East.