LOWVILLE After advancing the past two playoff games via overtime, a quick start proved beneficial for Immaculate Heart Centrals boys soccer team.
Senior Jude Fusilli scored twice within the first 14 minutes, including a goal in the second minute, to spark the second-seeded Cavaliers, who went on to blank third-seeded Copenhagen, 3-0, on Tuesday night in a Class D Section 3 playoff semifinal at Lowville Academy.
Junior goalkeeper Jarrod Smith made eight saves for IHC (14-3-1), which advances to its second consecutive sectional final.
We came out strong and just controlled the whole game from the start as we wanted to, Fusilli said.
The Cavaliers will face top-seeded Poland in the Class D championship game on Tuesday at a site to be announced in a rematch of last years title game.
Earlier, Copenhagens girls soccer team edged past Remsen, 2-1, on Emily Robertss deciding goal in the second half in a Class D semifinal also in Lowville.
Jared Pignone scored in the second half to help seal the victory for IHC, which reached the semifinal round with overtime victories over McGraw and Brookfield in first-round and quarterfinal games, respectively.
This time against Copenhagen, ranked seventh in the state, the Cavaliers took the initiative early and often by scoring on their first two shots on net.
Thats what we wanted to do coming into the game, IHC coach Mary Guyette said. We wanted to get an early goal and have a great start and that goal by Jude Fusilli was what we needed and it was just a great start to the game, which is what we needed.
For starters, Fusilli took a pass from Chris Rowland, turned and fired a shot into the right corner of the goal for a 1-0 IHC lead only one minute and one second elapsed.
Fusilli struck again, collecting in a feed from Matt Guyette and drilling a drive into the far corner in the 13th minute.
Even though Fusillis second goal was scored just 12:50 into the second half, the Golden Knights (18-1) never fully recovered from the early onslaught.
Youve got to give credit to them, Copenhagen coach Scott Randall said of IHC. They were the aggressors right from the opening kickoff. They had us on our heels and after we got down 1-0 we tried to make a scramble to get back into the game and that ended up costing us another one pretty quick.
Pignone followed with his goal in the 48th minute, heading in a corner-kick feed from Chris Rowland.
We talked at halftime that 2-0 is still a game and anything can happen, Guyette said. We still needed to go out and play 40 more minutes of really good soccer. Pignone getting that one off a corner was huge for us.
Robbie Groff and Brandon Buckley each finished with four saves for Copenhagen, which reached the semifinal round for the second straight season.
COPENHAGEN 2, REMSEN 1
Roberts scored the decisive goal in the 53rd minute as the top-seeded Golden Knights rallied past the fourth-seeded Rams.
Sophomore Mackenzie Wheeler made four saves, including several clutch stops for Copenhagen (18-0), which advances to the Class D final for the first time in three years. It will face either Poland or Cincinnatus at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at SUNY Cortland.
We were all very nervous, Wheeler said. But we came ready to play and we pulled through. We decided it was our time to win, so we got back those two goals. This was a very intense game.
The Golden Knights, ranked second in the state, needed a comeback effort after the Rams Elisha Hamilton opened the scoring with a goal in the 11th minute.
We got down early and we had to pressure them and then we gave up the goal on the direct [kick], which was a little disappointing, Copenhagen coach Katherine Stackel said. But then we came back and we tied it. They were man-marking Claire (Stackel) everywhere, and I thought Emma Roberts and Brooke Spaulding stepped up big in the midfield.
The Golden Knights broke through to draw even at 1-1 in the 37th minute. Alicia Evans sent in a shot that Rams goalie Megan Will couldnt handle and Maci Spaulding knocked in the rebound.
Remsen (14-3) nearly a took a one-goal lead into the half when Joleen Marfone appeared to score with 1:12 remaining, but the goal was waved off on an offsides call.
Roberts followed with the game-winner as she sent a rising shot over Will and under the crossbar 12:06 into the second half.
In the first half we were down 1-0, but we couldnt let our heads down, Roberts said. It was hard because theyre a team that really showed us the real game of soccer, they were both physical and had technique. But we were able to get it done.
Wheeler kept Remsen at bay with a pair of sharp saves in the final 40 minutes. She ranged well out from her net to take the ball away from Marfone on a breakaway bid with 16 minutes left after denying the forward earlier in the half.
MARCELLUS 7, SOUTH JEFFERSON 0
Jada Sargeants two goals helped the second-seeded Mustangs blank the No. 3 Spartans (14-2-2) in a Section 3 Class B semifinal at Fulton.
Madison Belvito, Brielle Filtch and Bri Sammon added a goal and an assist each for Marcellus (16-1-1), which will face No. 5 Westhill in the Class B championship at 6:30 p.m. Friday at SUNY Cortland.