Spencerport Rangers girls soccer win NYS Class AA Championship
By: Zachary Harnischfeger
The 2023 NYS Class AA Champions Spencerport Rangers (Photo Credit: Zachary Harnischfeger)
DRYDEN, NY--- The Spencerport Rangers girls soccer team came into the game looking to avenge their loss in the 2019 championship game against Shoreham-Wading River and keep their undefeated season alive. Two big goals and dominate defense led the Rangers to a 2-0 victory over Smithtown West.
"This team has performed so well," Spencerport Rangers head coach Jamie Schneider said. "From the start this is a really special group to win a championship and perform the way they did going 23-0 and the goal differential. It's a really special group of athletes and kids."
For most of the first half, both teams went back and forth in each other's zones and missed on scoring opportunities. Halfway through the first half, Smithtown West sophomore Ashley Mennella had a wide open net but the ball missed right by mere inches.
Two minutes later, Spencerport's Emma Watson just missed a goal to the right of the net, and Isabella Fiorillo sailed one over the crossbar. At 38:49 in the first half, sophomore forward Emily Peacock headed a free kick from junior midfielder Lindsay Lenhard in the bottom right corner of the net to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead.
Emily Peacock (Photo Credit: Zachary Harnischfeger)
Smithtown West was unable to get any kind of offense going in the second half. At 23:58 in the second half, Emma Watson scored on a header that bounced off the right post and the hands of Smithtown West senior goalie Meghan Peet and into the back of the net to extend the Rangers goal to 2-0. The goal was assisted by sophomore midfielder Carley Oakden.
"Carley was on the outside" Watson said. "She passed it and I got a head on it and it felt really good. We were all ready to crush the box so I think it was great that everyone was there and ready."
Rangers senior goalie Cate Burns pitched her 20th shutout of the season, which set a new Section V record. Burns only allowed three goals the whole season.
"My mindset going into the season was to be locked in every moment," Burns said. "I really feel like I proved that this year with only conceding three goals. I just wanted to be the best player, not just for myself, but for my team. These are a great group of girls and I wanted to make sure I was in the best shape for them."
This is Spencerport's third state championship and first since 2017. The Rangers finished the 2023 season undefeated at 23-0.