STILLWATER, NY (NEWS10) — You couldn’t have asked for a better matchup to decide the champion of the Section II, Class AA girls soccer playoff tournament. Shaker and Shenendehowa, perhaps the most intense rivals in the Capital Region, rolled into Saturday’s title bout as the one and two seeds, respectively, in the class, and the first and ninth-ranked teams in New York State, respectively.

The regular season clash did not disappoint – Shaker eked out a 3-2 win at Shen – and neither did the postseason rematch. But once again, it was the Blue Bison emerging victorious; they knocked off the Lady Plainsmen 2-0, earning the program’s first section title in over 30 years.

Shen held the advantage for much of the first half, outshooting Shaker significantly, and threatening to score on multiple possessions. But the Bison’s junior goalkeeper, Genevieve Austin, managed to keep the Plainsmen off the scoreboard with a number of athletic saves.

In soccer, all it takes is one bounce to go your way to completely change the tide of the game, and Shaker got that bounce with less than 10 seconds to play before halftime. Senior defender Alyssa Blake headed in her second goal of her varsity career off a corner kick, and the Bison took a 1-0 lead into the break.

Shaker would pad its’ lead in the 61st minute. Junior center back/midfielder Lindsey McCulloch launched a ball straight into the air that started to drift towards Shen’s net. The Plainsmen’s goalkeeper, junior Eva Pflomm, caught the ball off the bounce, but her momentum carried her across the goal line, and a goal was signaled for the Bison. Senior midfielder/striker Olivia Pardo, who was position directly in front of Pflomm, was credited with a face plant head, and McCulloch recorded the assist.

The Bison defense would hold from there, securing the 2-0 win, and Shaker punches its’ ticket to regionals.

Head coach Michael Brehm was relieved to wipe out a 30+-year section championship drought, and was proud of what his team overcame over the course of the year to achieve that milestone.

“To finally do it, and finally be here…I talked about all the emotions that we would have in this game, and I talked about weathering a storm…we’ve had it all happen to us,” said Brehm. “We had a ton of injuries early in the year, but this team is so deep. It’s just such a wonder to have ’em, and it’s so exciting, and I’m so happy for them.”

Blake, whose first-half goal proved to be the game-winner, felt a tremendous energy throughout the match.

“It felt amazing,” said Blake. “The energy from everyone was just great. The fans coming out; even the people on the bench, the coaches…it was just amazing to have that…all that support to get us through it.”

Shaker’s opponent in its’ regional matchup is currently undecided, but the Bison will be playing next Saturday.