CORTLAND, N.Y. — The Poland Tornadoes affirmed their spot as the No. 1 team in the state with a 4-2 victory over No. 2 Copenhagen Saturday in Section III’s Class D title match
Kara Morrison broke a 2-2 tie 14 minutes into the second half to put the Tornadoes on top, and Tara Seigle found Paige Sullivan on a corner kick with just over 10 minutes left to put the game away.
“They are athletic, they’re physical,“ Poland coach Tom Basel said. “So I’m not surprised that they were able to put a few on the board against us. Quite a game.“
The second half went back-and-forth with Poland holding a slight edge until Morrison found the back of the net with a blast from 20 yards out on the left side.
“Noone expects the stopper to shoot and score,” Morrison said. “It felt good to prove them wrong.”
Copenhagen was able to launch several shots, but none were on target, and the Tornadoes’ defense was able to turn away most scoring opportunities before they became dangerous.
The Tornadoes were not content to play defense after they scored their fourth goal, and continued to pressure Golden Knight goalie Mackenzie Wheeler, mostly on runs by Tara Seigle and Shiane Irwin.
“We’re an explosive offense,“ Basel said. “You all can see in the statistic books that Mikki (Blumenstock) is the primary scorer on the team but Tara Seigle has 17 or 18, Paige Sullivan has 17 or 18. I think for us this season the biggest difference in our performance was having a challenging schedule leading up to this season.“
Both teams found the net twice in the first half. Blumenstock scored back-to-back goals for Poland 39 seconds apart, the first with an assist from Morrison, the second with a chip over the head of Wheeler who had come out from the goal to challenge her. For Copenhagen (18-1-0), both goals were scored by Claire Stackel on direct kicks. The first was a perfectly executed shot from 30 yards out, the second was headed in off of an Emma Roberts kick.
The Tornadoes missed a golden opportunity early in the first half when Sullivan rolled her shot wide of the right post on a penalty kick less than eight minutes in. The senior, however, made up for it in the end.
Blumenstock was the tournament’s most valuable player for Poland and goalkeeper Courtney Green, who made three saves Saturday, received the Golden Hands award.
Wheeler made 10 saves for Copenhagen, the tournament’s top seed.
Stackel was the most valuable player for Copenhagen and sportsmanship awards were presented to Morrison and Roberts.
Poland, the defending state champion, meet the Section IV champion Nov. 9.
Times sports editor Jon Rathbun contributed to this report