On a cool, cloudy Saturday night, the Crusaders traveled to Faller Field in Middletown to face the Goldbacks of Newburgh for the Section 9 AA title.
The Crusaders were on a mission this year to reclaim the Section 9 title that they allowed to slip away last spring.
The Crusaders have been the dominate team in Section 9 the last eight years, winning seven Section titles in a row before loosing the the crown in last year’s shortened spring season to Valley Central.
The Crusader entered Saturday’s game with a 15-2-0 record on the season and are currently ranked third in the class AA division in the state.
The Goldbacks record stood at 9-3-1 and they were currently ranked 17th in the state. The Crusaders were able to handle the Goldbacks in their two meetings earlier in in season 2-1 and 3-0.
On Saturday night, the Crusaders put the pressure on the Goldbacks early with results.
Francesca Donovan took the ball past her defender and found Lauren Morgante with a perfect cross and she buried a shot past the Goldback goalie to put the Crusaders up 1-0 just 2:30 into the contest.
The Crusaders increased their lead to 2-0 when Sarah Hudson lead Donovan with a pass and she broke past her defenders and and scored just before the half.
The Goldbacks tightened up their defense in the second half as the game became more physical.
Finally with 13:28 left in the game Ella Natal used her speed to break past her defender and got a hard shot off. She then got the rebound off the goalie and tucked it into the corner of the net and the Crusaders were up 3-0.
Then, just a minute later, Anna Maggi sent a cross into the box where Hudson directed it into the Goldbacks goal and the Crusaders had commanding lead with 12:30 left in the game.
The Crusaders 4-0 victory over the Goldbacks gives then an unprecedented eight Section 9 titles in the last nine years.
The Crusaders are not done yet as they prepare to start the first round of the NYSPHSAA State playoffs on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Middletown when they face the Elmira Express, the Section 4 Champions.
- William Dimmit