By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
ALLEGANY — Two of Western New York’s girls soccer titans traveled along a collision course of supremacy that wound up meeting its intersection off to the west. UndefeatedFillmore went toe-to-toe with the Allegany-Limestone Gators — one of the very best programs in Section VI during the fall season.
With a chance of picking up their eighth straight win to open up the season on the table waiting to be claimed, it would have to come behind one of their most complete games thus far.
Fortunately enough, they would do just that. And with it, a strong first half of play came soon after, as the Fillmore built a 2-0 lead against the powerhouse Lady Gators that they would never lose, holding them to just two shots on defense back the other way to record a big 3-0 shutout to extend their red hot start to eight straight games.
“Every facet of our game tonight had outstanding play. Hope (Russell) did her thing scoring goals, but our success tonight was that we did everything together,” said Eagles coach Jon Beardsley. “We’ve been solid in different areas at different times, but tonight it looked different in a very positive way. Allegany-Limestone is a very successful program, and Coach (Dale) McArthur is a soccer legend that I have a ton of respect for. So for us to get a win against a program like that, is a great one.”
All three facets to Fillmore’s (8-0) game clicked at all different angles of the field. The offense, the defense, the special teams, you name it. The all-around performance would lead to big things, led by a hat trick performance from Hope Russell, who would help get the visitors in white and green started with two of those goals coming in the first half.
Her first was collected just past the 10 minute mark after the opening kick, as she buried a pass sent along by Malory DeRock to break the ice. The lead would hold up until 10 minutes remaining in the half, when she beat an array of Allegany-Limestone defenders from near the 20-yardline, weaving her way in to find the back of the net to extend their lead to a pair of goals.
The scoring and game was finished off near midway of the second half, when Russell completed her hat trick-clinching performance with her penultimate goal off a pass from Madi Geertman. Altogether, the Eagles would account for 13 shots against the Gators to fuel their offense towards ending a four-game win streak from the hosts.
Preslee Miller only allowed two shots to reach her direction on the other end of the field, stopping both shots from the Gators to record perhaps her biggest shutout of the season thus far, for Fillmore.
Bath-Haverling 8, Wellsville 0
BATH — The Lady Rams of Bath-Haverling erupted on all fronts Thursday evening on their home turf, as they galloped towards victory while holding the visiting Lady Lions of Wellsville in check all game with an 8-0 shutout.
Further statistics were not made available to report upon publication.
Wellsville (1-7-1) is now off until Wednesday back home with a 7 p.m. first kick against Genesee Valley/Belfast.
Genesee Valley/Belfast 3, Friendship/Scio 0
BELFAST — For most of the first half, Genesee Valley/Belfast and Friendship/Scio settled right in the midfield with some closely-contested battling on Thursday. As the war was waged across the field, one team would find a way to create an opening that would grow larger over time.
That would stem off a strong first half finish from hosts in black and white, as Genesee Valley/Belfast collected two of their three goals in the last 10 minutes of play to build momentum to ride into the break with, wrapping up a night under the lights with a rebounding victory in Belfast by a 3-0 count to earn their fifth shutout of the season.
With time winding down in the first 40 minutes of play, Genesee Valley/Belfast (6-2) would begin to navigate their way towards the top with a build-up of pressure against Friendship/Scio, seeing it burst with a pair of goals in a six-minute span incepting with Adison Grusendorf making a solo rush into the offensive zone to pound in the first strike at the 9:28 mark.
The lead would grow to a pair with the team’s leading goal-scorer in Hannah Southwick-Powers finding the back of the net herself off a pass from the team’s striker, Mary Hamer from down the field with 3:23 to go, racing in on the Friendship/Scio (3-4-1) goal to give the team a big lead extension to work with heading into halftime.
It was a 2-0 lead that Genesee Valley/Belfast would maintain control of all the way to the final four minutes of the game, when one last piece of insurance was added to the board from Baleigh Tallman — her first career Varsity goal coming off a pass provisioned by Anna Drozdowski on the way back into the zone with 3:37 remaining to put away the game for good.
Genesee Valley/Belfast totaled 17 shots worth of offense, while holding Friendship/Scio to just five on defense. That would allow Ashley Burrows to pick up her fifth shutout in goal, setting aside all five shots. In goal on the opposite end, Grace Drumm would make 14 saves.
Cuba-Rushford 2, Andover/Whitesville 1
CUBA — The pressure was on during the early stages of Thursday’s battle in Cuba, where Andover/Whitesville put the pedal to the metal by providing some opening cracks into the ice of opportunity.
But it was a jam that the host Rebels were able to work their way out of later on in the half, as they scored a pair of big goals to grab the game’s first lead and holding onto it, despite one last push in the second half to ward Andover/Whitesville off with a 2-1 victory to spring back above .500 on the season.
“They had some really good chances early on. They hit the post a couple of times, but we were fortunate to get out of it.” said Lady Rebels coach Aaron Wight. “They got that dangerous early second half goal, but we showed some resiliency and held on. Last year at home, they got two later goals and beat us by one. I was happy with how we were able to show a bit more maturity this go around.”
Cuba-Rushford (4-3) shook off some early pressure from Andover/Whitesville, building some pressure of their own towards the midway point of the opening half. That would result in the game’s first goal being capitalized upon by Sofia Riquelme, who took a Harlie Jones feed on the way into the offensive zone to break the scoreless deadlock in the 17th minute.
The lead for the Lady Rebels would hold until they found a way to branch it out to close the first half down, with the goal coming off the foot of Taylor Searle who connected with Sydney Howard with 1:35 left to play. The two-goal cushion would give Cuba-Rushford enough room to work with despite some pressure to start the second half from Andover/Whitesville (0-7-1).
At the 31:53 mark of the battle, Maddi Barona-Aiala was able to work the ball free from the Cuba-Rushford defense, and punctuate her solo rush into the offensive zone to cut the deficit down to a goal. But the resiliency and poise from the host would wind up being enough to hang on for the victory in the end.
The Rebels would go on to outshoot Andover/Whitesville by an 18-9 count, with Tara Duvall being credited with the victory behind seven saves. Olivia Waters would make 10 stops for the visitors.