CORTLAND — After 21 games, the Fillmore girls soccer team finally met its match.

The Eagles ran through an undefeated regular season and five playoff games with a perfect record to reach the state’s final four for the second time in program history, and first since 1984.

But a two-goal deficit in Saturday’s NYSPHSAA Class D semifinal proved to be just a bit too much for Fillmore to overcome, falling 2-1 to Section 9’s Mount Academy.

Mount Academy scored in the 35th minute on a Hilda Haleatt goal and took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but doubled that lead right after break with a 41st minute Tamara Ben-Eliezer goal.

With its season on the line, Fillmore pressed to get back into the game and finally scored with a 72nd minute Sophia Templeton goal, the senior forward’s 18th of the season.

Fillmore coach Jon Beardsley said his team expected to face a quality opponent in the state semifinal and “Mount Academy was just that.”

“They were fast, strong, disciplined and played a smart game,” Beardsley said of Mount Academy. “It is a type of game that we could have crumbled, especially after Mount’s second goal just 50 seconds into the second half, but I thought we showed true winners’ character by playing our best soccer late. I am so proud how our girls fought out through the difficulty of the game. We simply ran out of time.”

Mount Academy (17-1-1) advanced to play Poland in the Class D championship game Sunday afternoon.

Fillmore sophomore goalkeeper Preslee Miller recorded 10 saves in net to keep the Eagles within striking distance for much of the day. Mount Academy’s Shayna Kaiser made five saves.

Fillmore’s first loss brings a sudden end to a historic season at 21-1 after winning the Allegany County league, a Section 5 championship and the Far West Regional along with scholar athlete recognition.

“What impresses me about my group is their love of the game, their love for their team, and their desire to make others proud,” Beardsley noted. “It matters to them what others think of them, each player and coach cares what their teammates think of them and every day they want to make each other proud, as well as their school and community. The worst part about losing is simply that we don’t have any more (of the) fall 2021 season. With our success we haven’t really thought about it being over and then when it hits you, you quickly realise that we aren’t going to spend part of every day with each other. We lost to a good team, but not having a practice or a game tomorrow is what hurts the most.

“We have a lot to be thankful for,” Beardsley added. “I hope each of my players realizes that they accomplished a great deal, did it with class and dignity, and they earned everything they accomplished with their commitment, dedication, and desire to be the best they could be.”

Beardsley offered words of gratitude on behalf of the team for all who helped the Eagles get to Cortland for the last weekend of the season.

“Our girls were talking these past few days about the tremendous support we have received from so many people,” Beardsley said. “Our school, community, family, friends, and surrounding communities have shown such great support. Our girls noticed and are very thankful for everyone.”


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