AUBURN — Needing wins to qualify for sectionals, the Maroons settled for a tie.
Auburn girls soccer played to a scoreless 0-0 tie against Fulton Tuesday at Holland Stadium. It was the Maroons' second game that required overtime in less than a week; their game against Syracuse last Thursday also required the extra session.
That one, Auburn pulled out a win. This time, not quite.
The Maroons had their chances in extra time. Less than a minute into the first overtime, Sydney Marinelli streaked in on a partial breakaway and took a shot square at the Fulton goalie. That shot was denied, but the rebound popped back out to Marinelli, who lofted another try over the goal and out of play.
There was another try late in the second overtime on a corner kick, but like its other glorious chance, Auburn was unable to convert.
"We're young up top, so the experience to try and get the ball into the net, to try to create spacing has been a struggle this year," Auburn coach George Cosentino said. "They're working, but we just missed shots, missed opportunities. We're just a second away, an inch away from potentially scoring."
The tie certainly doesn't ruin Auburn's chances at making sectionals — needing 6 1/2 wins, the Maroons effectively sit at 5 1/2 with five games remaining — but this latest match presented an opportunity to inch even closer. Fulton had only one win in the season entering Tuesday's game, while Auburn had already beaten the Red Raiders once, 1-0, earlier in September.
Auburn also missed out on a chance to match its highest win total in four seasons.
"A tie is better than a loss," Cosentino said. "It puts us in position to at least get one more win in the next five games. I'd like to obviously get more wins and we have the potential to get more wins, but we need to be able to find good combinations."
The Maroons weren't limited to scoring chances only in overtime. Auburn dictated play for much of the game, particularly in the first half. Fifteeen minutes into the contest, Jessica Hai ran past her defender and slid a pass to a wide open Brooke Reynolds in the goal box. Reynolds took a moment and kicked the ball directly off the right post.
Fulton, meanwhile, didn't attempt a shot on goal until there were six minutes left in the first half. The Red Raiders did have consecutive free kicks inside Auburn territory with 10 minutes remaining in regulation, but one was swept away by the Maroons defense while the other was gobbled up by goalkeeper Bryn Whitman.
Other than that, the Red Raiders' offense was held at bay.
"Defensively we're solid," Cosentino said. "We've held some really good teams. For a young team to stay focused defensively throughout this is a good thing. They work hard in the back. We just have to do a little more up top."
Of Auburn's five remaining games, four are on the road. The Maroons have trips to East Syracuse Minoa, Jamesville-DeWitt, Oswego and Cortland before wrapping up at home against Central Square on Oct. 10.
The Maroons have faced all of those teams once already this year — they defeated East Syracuse Minoa on Sept. 4, and lost one-goal contests to Cortland, Oswego and Central Square.