CORTLAND — Playing in its first-ever final four, the Northern Adirondack girls’ soccer team proved it belonged on the big stage.
Holland just proved to be slightly better on Saturday.
Olivia Schmidt headed in a corner kick toward the end of the first sudden victory overtime period to break a 1-all tie and give the Dutchmen a 2-1 win in the NYSPHSAA Class C semifinals at Cortland High School.
That goal capped a hard-fought game between both squads that saw Holland go up in the first two minutes before the Bobcats clamped down on defense and got a beautiful goal from sophomore Taylor Durnin to even the score in the second half.
Holland (18-1-1), the state’s second-ranked team, will play Section I’s Haldane today in the championship game at SUNY Cortland.
Northern Adirondack (15-4-2) will head into the offseason after finishing up a banner year for the program that saw the fourth-ranked Bobcats win their first Section VII title since 2007 and reach new levels in state competition.
“We all played our hearts out (Saturday), and there are no regrets,” Northern Adirondack forward Elle Warick said. “It was such an incredible journey, and I’m so glad we made it here.”
The Bobcats appeared to let the big stage overwhelm them early. Holland, the Section VI champion, earned a corner kick a minute into the game, and Schmidt took advantage of a scrum in front of the net after an initial save by Northern Adirondack goalkeeper Anna Lashway.
“We were kind of shell-shocked,” Lashway said. “We didn’t know what to expect. So we kind of let up a little.”
But the jitters did go away, and Lashway and her ‘Diamond D’ defense in front of her — Jillian Scott, Maegan Brunelle, Durnin and Boulrice — made sure the game remained close. Lashway, who switched from defense to goalkeeper this season, finished with nine saves — seven in the first half — and made several diving grabs on dangerous passes in front of her goal that prevented prime scoring chances.