By PHIL BLACKWELL
Again, the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls soccer team took a tough and relentless path to the state Class A championship game. Again, the Spartans would run into the Long Island-based dynasty that owns more state titles than anyone else.
And again, it would end in disappointment.
In an eerie repeat of 2005, Burnt Hills lost 1-0 to South Side in the class A state finals, this time played at Homer High School.
We had some chances and worked very hard, said Burnt Hills head coach Brian Bold. "The fact that we (mostly) shut them down says a lot about our character."
All told, it was the third time in four years that Burnt Hills and South Side had met with a state championship on the line. The Spartans won in 2003 in suburban Rochester, but the Cyclones prevailed last year at Union-Endicott.
This would be yet another clash of those two dynasties, as Burnt Hills fought to keep South Side from its third straight state title and 13th crown overall.
For the most part, the Spartans' defense did keep South Side in check, save for a moment of defensive confusion late in the first half.
Throughout the game, the Cyclones sent waves of attacks at the Spartans, only to meet with constant frustration as Kara Eaker, Lindsay Schumacher, Kelly O'Rourke and their fellow defenders put up the wall. Sophomore goalie Teegan Kelly smoothly handled every chance, too.
In the 30th minute, Kelly tried to kick the ball out of her crease. It went to South Side freshman Carly Beyar, who headed it right back to the net.
Amid a split second of confusion, Kelly and Eaker crossed paths " and that allowed the ball to trickle past them and roll on the Field Turf into the net.