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"Trapping Brook Road" by Chris Mattison

Fillmore wins battle of undefeated teams over Bolivar-Richburg in boys soccer (photo gallery); Houghton, Hinsdale win, Wellsville ties GV/B

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Story and photos by Chris Brooks, Sports Editor, wellsvillesports.com

BOLIVAR — Without a doubt, it was the marquee matchup of the week, and maybe even perhaps the season thus far. Two undefeated teams that possess fast-paced offense and even more so, phenomenal team defense — the perfect combination to headline any performance.

Fillmore and Bolivar-Richburg were soaring to incredible heights, with the Eagles winning each of their first eight games, while the Wolverines have hung wins in eight of their first nine after a 1-1 tie with Genesee Valley/Belfast back on Friday.

With major County League implications already on the table for the top spot, the first tussle of the season between the two explosive foes was worth the price of admission.

Plenty of opportunities, a ton of midfield warfare, physicality, and five goals accounted for — three of them in what was a chaotic second half of play. It was a battle of who wanted it more in the endgame, and approaching the last call for the evening, the Eagles would come through with the help of their senior superstar Mitch Ward.

The Fillmore phenom provided another lights out spectacle by having a hand in all three of the team’s scoring plays, netting two of his own before handing out an assist on perhaps the biggest of the night with nearly 10 minutes left to play to break a 2-2 tie, as Zach Sisson put the Eagles ahead of the Wolverines once and for all to declare victory for a ninth straight game, handing Bolivar-Richburg their first regulation loss in the process with a 3-2 win at Dunsmore-Latimer Field.

“What a great game tonight by both teams. I thought B-R played incredibly well and they forced us to dig deep and overcome a ton of adversity,” said Eagles coach Jarrett Vosburg. “We hadn’t trailed once this year, so to see the guys respond to their early goal and then battle back to tie the game again was really important for us as a team. I was proud of the grit and heart we showed on a night where nothing came easily. We know every team we play is going to give us their best effort, and that was on full display tonight.”

Before the Eagles (9-0) were able to launch a late display of fireworks, they would have to dig down deep early out of the gate. It was a start that Bolivar-Richburg wanted to work with against their visiting opposition. As a midfield battle quickly began to shelter in place, the chance for golden opportunity would come soon after for the hosts in black and red, as Ryder Easton sprinted down the far sidelines with possession to deliver a big strike across to Reiss Gaines, who fired it home without hesitation to break the ice six minutes after the opening kick.

Just as fast as Bolivar-Richburg (8-1-1) made their way onto the board, the Eagles response that came after was almost an exact replica. After a foul called against the Wolverines handed possession to the visitors in white and green, a big goal from the foot of Mitch Ward was the end result, trading passes between himself and Zach Sisson on his way into the offensive zone, where he finished the final pass off to the far post with 25 minutes to go, tying the game.

The momentum would remain with the Eagles up until the first half’s conclusion, creating chance after chance, including a pair of shots that would ricochet off the Bolivar-Richburg net each time before the Wolverines defense countered with huge clears to prevent even more damage from happening.

The tempo that was being pushed, was maintained through the early portions of the second half. With Bolivar-Richburg knocking on the door of opportunity once more along the way, Fillmore would deny entry and then turn the tables themselves with a go-ahead goal from Ward — his second of the game, stemming from a pass near midfield, picking up the ball and working past two Wolverines defenders on his way in to knock home the huge shot for the lead at midway.

A lot of chaos would then build up a load of steam as time progressed further on. On a run into the Fillmore zone that saw Brent Zubikowski and Aydin Sisson ride stride-for-stride after the loose ball, a takedown inside the Eagles box by the senior striker would set up perhaps the biggest moment of the game with 17:45 left to play.

A penalty kick for the Wolverines.

Electing to take the shot was Ian Unfus. And with it, was the game-tying goal, as the senior knocked it home past Luke Colombo in goal for the Eagles towards the left post.

But like the common trend has been well-established all night long — quickness would strike again.

Mere moments after the 2-2 tie was locked in place again on the scoreboard, Fillmore would regain traction on the lead once and for all with 13 minutes left on a massive direct kick opportunity taken by Ward. From 20 yards out, a missile was delivered right to Sisson, who was wide open on the far post side of the Wolverines cage to meet it with an incredible trap into the net to put the Eagles ahead with a 3-2 lead.

An advantage that they would manage to hold onto for dear life in an absolutely havoc-filled final five minutes of the game to remain Allegany County’s lone unbeaten at the end of the night.

“My boys played their hearts out. I am so proud of them all. I’m not disappointed by the result by any means. I would have loved to have a win against a team like Fillmore, but you can’t ask for much more from the guys to just go out and play one of their hardest fought games this season. It was an exciting game to be a part of.” said Wolverines coach Mike Zilker.

The Wolverines, despite the end result, would hold an 8-6 advantage over the Eagles in the shot department, with David Abdo making three saves. On the other end, Colombo and Layton Sanasith would combine to record six saves for Fillmore.

Both teams will jump right back into it on Thursday, with Fillmore continuing their road swing to their neighbors just down the road in a 5 p.m. contest at Houghton Academy — winners of six straight, while Bolivar-Richburg looks to get back on track with a 7 p.m. visit from Andover/Whitesville right back on their home field.

Giant in Cuba and Wellsville support our athletes!

Genesee Valley/Belfast 0, Wellsville 0

BELMONT — A true midfield battle graced the stage in the Jungle on Tuesday.

Both Wellsville and host Genesee Valley/Belfast would garner all of the scoring opportunities that they could possibly muster, but after 100 total minutes of action up and down the field, not a single goal would find its way into the back of the net after what was deemed a scoreless tie — the second straight deadlock for Genesee Valley/Belfast.

“Both goalies made some fantastic saves on both ends all night long. They were really the only scoring chances that were had in the game,” said GV/Belfast coach Mark Sullivan. “It was back and forth all through the midfield, and there were quite a few close calls. We had some on the goal line ourselves that we just couldn’t finish. The (Cody) Costello kid owned the middle of the field for them, but we matched up with them really well. Our defense has been solid, but we’re lacking that finishing touch.”

16 shots combined between both teams were garnered at the end of the night, the majority of them would become prime scoring opportunities, as Genesee Valley/Belfast (4-3-2) outshot the Lions by a 10-6 count. Both goalkeepers — Logan Dunbar and Thai Norasethaporn would make all of those stops to record the shutout for their respective clubs, with Dunbar making the 10 stops for Wellsville (4-6-1).

Both teams are back on the field Thursday night, with the Lions coming back home to welcome in Bath-Haverling for a 7 p.m. opening kick, while Genesee Valley/Belfast heads over the hill to Friendship for a 5 p.m. battle with Friendship/Scio.

Houghton Academy 3, Cuba-Rushford 2

CUBA — While the top two teams in the County waged war in Bolivar, another one of the hottest teams had a quick turnaround back over the road on Tuesday.

After an offensive firing of all cylinders against Andover/Whitesville kept their flame ignited, the inferno continued to burn at Cuba-Rushford. With a halftime tie needing to be broken, the dynamic duo of Brian Patipewe and Lucas Matias would shine through again with two big second half goals to push their way ahead of the Rebels for good to hang on and capture their sixth straight win in a 3-2 decision.

Houghton Academy (8-2) was the first to strike right in the first 10 minutes of play with Matias weaving his way through the Cuba-Rushford defense, picking up a pass from Pedro Rebello on the way in to break the ice at the 33:29 mark. The lead would not last long though, as the Rebels (3-8) executed a quick response of their own from Maddox Keller just over five minutes later, finding the back of the net off a feed from Anderson Siegel.

Right off the hop in the second half, the Panthers would take the lead right back in quick fashion with Brian Patipewe being credited with a defensive miscue by the Rebels nearly three minutes in. Their position in the driver’s seat would remain secure for the remainder of the game, as Patipewe added a second goal off a Matias helper to give the visitors that all important piece of insurance coming down the stretch with 13:09 left in regulation.

Cuba-Rushford would provide some late pressure in the last 10 minutes however, cutting their deficit back down to a single goal with help from Braeden Wight, who capitalized off a perfectly-placed corner kick from Preston Bilotta with 4:55 left on the clock. But in the end, Houghton Academy was able to hang on to ward off the push from the hosts to secure the victory.

35 total shots between each team were applied on the frontlines, with the Panthers taking the 21-14 advantage. In net, Marco Zanini recorded the win behind eight saves, while Jack Frank had 19 for the Rebels.

Both teams are back on the field Thursday night, with Houghton Academy heading back home to keep their winning ways alive with a 5 p.m. matchup against undefeated Fillmore, while Cuba-Rushford will look to rebound in a big way with a 7 p.m. visit to Hinsdale.

Hinsdale 3, Friendship/Scio 2 (F-2OT)

FRIENDSHIP — It was an explosive beginning that was put on through the opening half, especially in the first 10 minutes between Hinsdale and Friendship/Scio on Tuesday.

Out of the five goals that were scored, four of them came in the first half — three being scored in the opening sequences. It would develop a 2-2 tie between the two foes that would hold for the majority of the game. That was up until the very last second when the long-standing midfield battle was ended by the Bobcats.

With a mere 10 seconds left until the game was forced into a draw, the Bobcats made sure that was no longer a possibility, as they ended the game themselves with a Preston Jackson goal that gave them the victory on the road in Friendship, edging past the hosts by a 3-2 count.

Each team would have their first crack into the ice in the first two minutes of the game, reaching an early 1-1 tie after Friendship/Scio (3-7) fueled the scoring with a Jordan White penalty kick just 47 seconds in. Right at the 38 minute mark, Hinsdale responded rapidly with the first of two Jackson goals.

The tie would remain intact until the Bobcats (2-7) went ahead for the first time themselves with Robert Childs being credited as the last person to hold possession after a Friendship/Scio own goal at the 32:07 mark. But just as fast as they took the lead, the hosts countered with another right hook five minutes later from Ethan Davenport, who was sent a pass into the Hinsdale zone from Chase Kinnicutt to deadlock the score again at the 25:32 marker.

From that point forward all the way into double overtime, the two foes went back and forth throughout the midfield creating opportunities to capitalize on, but no more tallies would find their way into the back of the net.

Seconds away from a potential tie looming in the distance, the Bobcats went for it all and cashed in with a jackpot with Jackson recording the game-winning goal to capture the win over the road, despite being outshot by Friendship/Scio narrowly (7-6).

The win was awarded to Ethan Chapman for the visitors, who made five saves. On the other side, Taylor Moore made three saves for the hosts.

Both teams will return to the field Thursday night on their home fields, as Hinsdale heads back home to welcome in Cuba-Rushford for a 7 p.m. battle, while Friendship/Scio prepares to host Genesee Valley/Belfast in a 5 p.m. contest of their own right back in Friendship.

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