By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
ARKPORT — One final week of regular season action remains on the calendar. There’s no better time to make that penultimate push towards Sectionals, especially with prime seeding hanging in the balance, than at this very moment.
In the Class D standings, Genesee Valley/Belfast and Arkport/Canaseraga currently occupy the No. 5 and No. 6 spots, respectively. The degree of separation between them? — Just two points.
You could say that the heat has never been hotter before.
An all-out defensive battle shrouded the first half of play, with the Wolves claiming the game’s first lead. But then when the action transitioned into the second half, it was anyone’s game straight down to the wire. A game that would ultimately require extra time to complete.
But after 20 minutes of overtime shared between both squads, Genesee Valley/Belfast and Arkport/Canaseraga would have to finish Saturday afternoon in a draw — Genesee Valley/Belfast’s second in three games, after a heroic final push by the hosts in black and teal forced a 2-2 deadlock in the last minute and remained in place until the very last horn was sounded at the Melody Harwood Soccer Complex in Arkport.
After the midfield battle consumed a good majority of the time in the first half, it would allow Arkport/Canaseraga to begin knocking at Genesee Valley/Belfast’s (7-4-2) door of opportunity with pressure and a trio of direct kicks near the top of the 18. As a result, the Wolves broke the ice first with 15 minutes remaining in the half, as a series of passes in front of the net ended with a Zach Smith score. John Marcus was credited with the primary helper.
With a 1-0 lead going into the break and upon re-entering the field, Arkport/Canaseraga aimed to maintain the upper hand on Genesee Valley/Belfast. But just 35 seconds off the clock, the visitors had their best chance to tie the game, led by a beautiful rush that allowed Ian McKenzie to provide a cross to the front.
The ball squibbed straight into a mob of players parked in front of the Wolves net, ultimately landing in Callahan Tallman’s wheelhouse to fire home and tie the game almost immediately.
Ryan Snyder was given credit for the helper on the deadlocking score.
The action settled back into a defensive standpoint once more, especially for Genesee Valley/Belfast, who continued to pin Arkport/Canaseraga deep with multiple opportunities as time progressed to reclaim the lead. But with 7:54 left in regulation, they would do just that on an Evan Turybury kick that was cleared by the Wolves but put back into the zone by Matt Cater just past midfield, all in one swoop.
On the shot, the ball gravitated straight up in front of the Wolves net where Ian McKenzie dug his way free to win the ball, settle it and poke it home into the empty net with the goalkeeper out of the net on the challenge to go up by a 2-1 count. Wyatt Weaver was given credit for the go-ahead helper.
Since the goal, the last seven minutes of regulation would morph into some of the more thrilling soccer in the contest. In the game’s final minute, the Wolves were presented with one last chance to try and tie the game again with the assistance of Bryer Drake and his direct kick from 30 yards away.
On it, the ball sailed straight over to the other side of the Genesee Valley/Belfast net into the empty space where a streaking Jacob Bacon met it with a shot that went straight into the opposite corner with 23 seconds left to tie the game at two.
The goal would ultimately keep the game glued together at two-all, as both teams settled on the deadlock at the end of the war. The Wolves outshot Genesee Valley/Belfast by a 15-7 count, with Kyle McCumiskey making 13 saves in goal for the visitors in white and black, while Taylor Pragle made five stops for the hosts.
Up next, Genesee Valley/Belfast will look to rebound back on the road Tuesday night with another major road trip, this time to Cuba-Rushford for a 7 p.m. contest under the lights.
Wellsville at Holley
No information was reported to any media outlets again.
Fillmore 5, Wellsville 0
WELLSVILLE — All season long, the defending Class D State Champions have simply picked up where they left off from that historic season last Fall. With another Allegany County League championship in the wagon and a top seed for their title defense waiting in the wings, the final week of regular season action would give the Fillmore Eagles an opportunity to build.
Saturday morning, they proceeded to do just that in their road trip to Wellsville, as they capitalized with three first half goals to set the tone on offense while holding the host Lions to a single shot on the defensive end to take full advantage of the possession game across the board with a 5-0 shutout in the Lion’s Den.
“We played some great possession-based soccer for long stretches of the game today. Wellsville has some bigger, athletic guys that really know how to work hard, so I was pleased with our ability to maintain the game plan we had in place and still have success both defensively and offensively.” said Eagles coach Jarrett Vosburg.
In the first seven minutes of play, the Eagles (14-0) wasted absolutely no time firing the engine up, as Eben Schilke and Henry Sardina produced a 2-0 lead on Wellsville, with Schilke connecting on the team’s first corner kick opportunity all by himself, while Sardina picked up a cross from Isaiah Sisson to his right and split the Lions defense on his way to the goal, knocking it in short side.
The lead would reach three at the 25:24 mark for the visitors in white and green, as Zach Sisson added a goal of his own, putting perfect placement on the ball with a header off a pass sent along by Layton Sanasith. While the offense set the tone, the defense in turn held the Lions (2-11) at a standstill, allowing just one shot to reach Brayden Hennard in between the pipes when the first half reached its conclusion.
In the second half, the Eagles would carry the momentum they had built and use it in full force to close out the battle, as Sardina and Schilke each recorded their second goals of the game in a span of five minutes just past the 50-minute mark, with Sam Cool garnering the assist on Schilke’s marker.
The five goals were scored on 18 total shots, as they outshot Wellsville by an 18-3 count — the three shots allowed all stopped by Hennard in goal to record the shutout.
For the Lions, Gavin Haggerty made 13 saves.
Both teams will return to action on Columbus Day, as Fillmore now prepares for a tough battle with Section VI superpower Allegany-Limestone over the road beginning in a 3 p.m. first kick, while Wellsville stays home to host Senior Night at 5 p.m. with a visit from Cuba-Rushford.
Alfred-Almond 1, Bolivar-Richburg 0
ALMOND — Just one goal in the heat of battle between both Bolivar-Richburg and Alfred-Almond was garnered after 80 complete minutes of soccer, and it was collected by the host Eagles who took care of business on Saturday with a 1-0 shutout of the Wolverines.
In-depth statistics were not made available to report upon publication.
The Wolverines (6-7-1) are back on the pitch Tuesday with a 5 p.m. road trip to Wellsville.
Andover/Whitesville-Jasper-Troupsburg 4, Cuba-Rushford 0
CUBA — Hopping back on the pitch in quick turnaround fashion can be a difficult aspect to adjust to. Several hours removed from the last battles both Andover/Whitesville-Jasper-Troupsburg and Cuba-Rushford engaged in, that factor came into play Saturday morning, as one of the teams looked to have the winning edge going into the weekend.
With Andover/Whitesville-Jasper-Troupsburg looking to rebound after a 4-1 loss to Genesee Valley/Belfast, and the Rebels looking to gain continued traction following a 5-1 win at Friendship/Scio, something had to give after the two foes shared a scoreless tie throughout the first 40 minutes of play.
With a battle for the ball taking place across midfield, it would allow one team to begin opening up the defense on the other end. That was conducted by both Robert Bradley and Brody Vance, with Bradley breaking the ice with the game’s first marker before Vance followed suit with three more of his own to complete a second half hat trick in what was a 4-0 Andover/Whitesville-Jasper-Troupsburg win on the road over the Rebels.
“Credit to AWJT, they showed up ready to work today,” Rebels coach Rob Wight said. “I can’t be mad at the play itself, we created a ton of chances. But we couldn’t put the ball in the net. Robert Bradley is an excellent player and he makes you pay anytime you give him half a chance. I hope going forward, we can find that “need to score” attitude, and do a better job at finishing our opportunities.”
The ice was finally broken after a lengthy defensive battle took center stage in Cuba, as Robert Bradley was the first to connect for Andover/Whitesville-Jasper-Troupsburg (6-8), taking a long run down the far sideline while under pressure from the Cuba-Rushford defense to fire a rocket straight over Alex Baron in goal just 10 minutes removed from the clock.
From that point on, it was all Brody Vance, as he built onto the team’s lead with the next three scores, two of them coming off assists by Bradley and the last on a helper from James Miller-Young to help close out the scoring in a rebounding victory.
23 shots on goal were applied between the two foes, with Cuba-Rushford (7-5-1) claiming a narrow 12-11 edge. In goal, the win was garnered by Derek Perkins, who made all 12 stops to record the shutout. On the other end, Baron set aside seven shots for the Rebels, who will get set to visit Wellsville in a 5 p.m. contest on Monday.
Andover/Whitesville-Jasper-Troupsburg is back home on Tuesday, hosting Houghton Academy in a 6 p.m. first kick in Andover.