MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — A goal in the final minute of regulation play brought the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Wolves debut season to a heart-breaking end Saturday in regional play at Middletown High School.
Eldred Yellowjacket Jordan Lepes’ goal broke a tie with 17 seconds on the clock and gave Section IX’s Class D champions a 2-1 victory over the champions of Section II.
Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, representing its newly-merged district after four years of combined play, had entered the state playoffs with a 10-match winning streak. The last time St. Johnsville, the 2000 state champion, represented Section II in regional play, the then-Saints were beaten 1-0 in Middletown by S.S. Seward of Florida, another Section IX school now competing in Class C.
There would be no shutout this time around. Jessi Hagadorn, one of two seniors Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville (15-4-1), opened the scoring with a goal five minutes into the contest. The Wolves kept the pressure on Eldred goalkeeper Jenna Burns, outshooting the Yellowjackets by a wide margin while failing to hit the net a second time.
Lynzee Kelly pulled Eldred even late in the first half with a crossing shot over the head of goalie Leann Clark that landed inside the right post.
The Wolves missed a chance to regain the lead when Tabea Salzmann shot wide on a penalty kick following a handball early in the second half.
The teams remained deadlocked until Lepes took advantage of her one-on-one opportunity against Clark in the closing seconds.
The win sends Eldred (11-7-1) to Cortland next weekend. The Yellowjackets meet Section III Poland, the reigning state champion, in semifinal play Saturday at noon. The other semifinal features Section VII Chazy and Section V Jasper-Troupsburg.