By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
WELLSVILLE — The Bath-Haverling Rams have been Section V’s dragon in Class B for the last four seasons running — the powerhouse of powerhouses. With the majority of their incredible puzzle pieces now out the door from Graduation, the future is now.
Thursday night marked the first time that Wellsville would go toe-to-toe with the Rams, and for most of the opening half, the battle was on throughout the midfield. It was a slow-burning 40 minutes, but towards the tail end of it, the pendulum began to shift towards a favoring side.
That slow burn would turn into an offensive inferno that was maintained going into the second half, where a two-goal lead doubled into four while the Bath-Haverling defense continued to keep Wellsville off the board, rolling toward an eventual 4-0 victory in the Lion’s Den.
Both teams went back and forth fighting for possession in the midfield for much of the first half of play, as each side garnered a few opportunities along the way. The bulk of those chances came from the Rams, who wound up tilting the momentum in their favor down the homestretch with 10 minutes to go.
The build-up of pressure would ultimately lead it towards a burst, as the Rams scored two goals in the last six minutes of play, with their first stemming off a Logan Dunbar goal kick to midfield. The ball was intercepted by the Rams offense and sent back down the field on a long hail mary from Gavin Rounds, finding a streaking Spencer Wheeler breaking away from the Wellsville (4-7-1) defense on the way in for the score at the 6:15 mark.
After the goal, the momentum remained with the visiting side of the field, as they added one more goal before the half was over from Zach Musso, who streaked his way past the Lions defense after a Michael Binkowski pass from the near sideline behind him, stretching the ball across and towards the far post to add more to their buffer zone.
Wellsville was not able to find a response for Bath-Haverling’s offense in the second half. As a result, the Rams would finish off the goal-scoring themselves with two more goals — a Rounds interception-and-score in front of the Lions goal after an attempted clear near midway, and later a Binkowski netter with 10:28 left to play directly in front of the net to seal the game away for good.
Further statistics were not made available upon publication.
Wellsville is back on the field Monday night over the road, paying a visit to Campbell-Savona for a 5 p.m. contest.
Fillmore 1, Houghton Academy 0
HOUGHTON — Some difficult conditions made for a long and grueling fight in Houghton between two of the hottest teams in the County on Thursday. Those teams were separated by just a short drive from one another — the lone unbeaten, Fillmore and Houghton Academy, winners of six straight.
After it was all said and done, just one single goal would find its way into the back of the net. And it was a goal of utmost importance in the now, and even more so, historically.
A new King in Fillmore soccer was crowned.
It was scored at as important of a time than ever. After a penalty was committed inside the Houghton Academy box by the Panthers, the stage was set for Fillmore’s leader in Mitch Ward. The penalty kick was capitalized upon without hesitation, as Ward sent it to the near post of the cage with under five minutes left in regulation, breaking a scoreless tie with the Panthers to come out on top as the first team to 10 wins on the season to remain unbeaten with a 1-0 shutout.
“It was another gritty and gutsy effort by the boys tonight,” said Eagles coach Jarrett Vosburg. “Houghton came out and played us very tough in some really difficult field conditions. It was really nice to be able to grind out our second close win of the week on another one of those nights where the bounces didn’t always entirely go our way.”
The goal by Ward was his 22nd of the season for the Eagles (10-0). Even more so, the goal just so happened to give him a new title within the school’s rich history books in boys soccer — becoming the program’s All-Time leading scorer with his 94th career goal.
Vosburg added on Ward, saying that for a kid who is every bit of a team player, he deserves all that he has worked hard to earn.
“My hat goes off to Mitch for setting the new school record tonight,” he said. “He works so hard day in and day out, and he deserves every bit of the success that he has rightfully earned. The best part of it all is that the team getting the win tonight means so much more, and it was far more important to him than any record will ever be.”
Ward’s goal was one of 11 total shots that Fillmore was able to muster against Houghton Academy (8-3), as they outshot the Panthers by an 11-6 count. Luke Colombo recorded the shutout in goal, making all six saves while Marco Zanini had 10 for the hosts.
Both teams are back in action Monday night, with Fillmore heading back home to welcome in Andover/Whitesville for a 7 p.m. contest, while Houghton Academy prepares for another tough matchup over the road, visiting Bolivar-Richburg at 5 p.m.
Genesee Valley/Belfast 0, Friendship/Scio 0
FRIENDSHIP — For the third consecutive game, after immense battling throughout the field with their opposition, Genesee Valley/Belfast was forced into another tie. This time, with Friendship/Scio in what was a second straight scoreless deadlock, as both teams could not find the key to unlock the chains on the offensive attack, Thursday night in Friendship.
Both teams combined to record 12 total shots, with Genesee Valley/Belfast (4-3-3) outshooting Friendship/Scio (3-7-1) by a 7-5 count.
In goal, both Taylor Moore and Thai Norasethaporn would record shutouts, making all seven and five saves.
On Saturday beginning in a pair of 2 p.m. opening kicks, Friendship/Scio will head back over the hill to Scio to welcome in Canisteo-Greenwood, while Genesee Valley/Belfast returns to The Jungle to face Avoca/Prattsburgh.
Bolivar-Richburg 5, Andover/Whitesville 0
BOLIVAR — After enduring their first taste of defeat this season earlier this week, the bounce back was on for the Bolivar-Richburg Wolverines on Thursday back at Dunsmore-Latimer Field.
With Andover/Whitesville in town for their next bout, the Wolverines wasted no time making their impact known by scoring four of their five goals right in the 40 minutes of play to bring the hammer down on the eventual rebounding victory to get back on track , sealing up the 5-0 victory under the lights.
Right from the hop, Bolivar-Richburg (9-1-1) struck immediately with a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes from both Evan Pinney and Reiss Gaines, as Aydin Sisson and Braden Zilker helped set up the scoring plays in a three-minute span to start unloading their arsenal. Later on, Gaines would record his second of the game off of a second Sisson helper to branch out the team’s lead with 23:28 left to play.
The first half would reach its end with a 4-0 lead in hand for the hosts, as Zilker added in a tally of his own at the 16:02 mark, knocking in a corner kick from Noah Little 20 yards out in front of the Andover/Whitesville (1-10) cage.
The scoring was finished off after they transferred the momentum into the second half, striking gold one final time very quickly at the 38:32 mark when Pinney connected with his second of the game off a pass dished out from Ian Unfus. Bolivar-Richburg would record five goals off 15 total shots while the defense held Andover/Whitesville to just three in the other zone.
In goal, David Abdo picked up the shutout with all three saves, while Landon Ordway made 11 saves for the visitors.
Both teams are back on the field Monday night, with the Wolverines returning to their home field once more for a 5 p.m. first kick with Houghton Academy, while Andover/Whitesville hits the road for a 7 p.m. contest in Fillmore.
Fillmore 4, Andover/Whitesville 0
ANDOVER — The tandem of Hope and Grace Russell continues to make loud reverberations across the County, as well as Section V, as the two Lady Eagles sharpshooters combined to record all four of the team’s goals on Thursday in Andover, with Hope recording another hat trick to help set the tone on Fillmore’s 4-0 shutout of Andover/Whitesville.
Out of the four goals that found the back of the Andover/Whitesville net, three of them were tucked away in a five-minute span just past the early stages of the first half, with Hope Russell starting the scoring at the 14-minute mark for Fillmore (11-0). She would then hand off a pass to Grace Russell four minutes later to branch out the lead to a pair.
On the next two scores for the Lady Eagles, Amelia Rose would be responsible for helping set up shop, scoring two assists to Hope Russell to help complete her hat trick in the game near midway of the first half, and 15 minutes into the second half to give them the room they needed to push towards victory — their 11th straight.
Further statistics were not made available to report upon publication.
Fillmore is back on the road Monday night with a 7 p.m. visit to the Judy Bliven Field to take on Genesee Valley/Belfast, while Andover/Whitesville (0-9-2) hits the road themselves to Scio on Saturday, as they take on Friendship/Scio for the third and final time this season beginning at 4 p.m.
Bolivar-Richburg 7, Friendship/Scio 1
BOLIVAR — The Lady Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg used the first 40 minutes to the fullest of advantages on Thursday. After navigating their way alongside Friendship/Scio towards a 1-1 tie just past the early stage, the heat was turned up to an insurmountable degree, as the host fired on all cylinders with the next six unanswered goals to bolt away towards triumph by a 7-1 count at Dunsmore-Latimer Field.
Madigan Harris was a big reason behind the success for the Lady Wolverines (7-5), scoring four goals — two of them coming in a seven minute span to take the first lead at 26 minutes, and later to take the lead back after Lexi Crossley tied the game for Friendship/Scio just 22 seconds removed from the opener, connecting with Nevaeh Ross on the game-tying goal.
McKinlee Harris would record three assists in all, two on Madigan’s first pair of tallies to help jumpstart the production. Helping with contributions of their own in the first half were Raegan Giardini, Allison Zilker and McKinlee Harris, all of which were scored in a 3:36 span past midway of the frame.
The markers for Giardini and Zilker would become the first ever in their Varsity careers.
With a 5-1 first half lead in hand, two more goals were added on from Madigan Harris to complete her hat trick and then some, with McKinlee Harris handing out the final assist off a corner kick at the 26:52 mark, while Madigan found the net all herself on a great dribble through the Friendship/Scio (3-7-2) defense on the way in to wrap up another brilliant offensive night for the Lady Wolverines.
Bolivar-Richburg collected 21 shots on goal while holding Friendship/Scio to just five on defense. Kyla Gayton would record the win in between the posts, making a stop to four saves, while Grace Drumm set aside 14 shots for the visitors, who will head back home to Scio to welcome in Andover/Whitesville in a 4 p.m. battle on Saturday.
Some extended time off will now be spent by the Lady Wolverines, as they resume play next Thursday night with a 7 p.m. battle against Genesee Valley/Belfast forthcoming, back at Dunsmore-Latimer Field.
Bolivar-Richburg 3, Houghton Academy 1
HOUGHTON — In a tight matchup of offense vs. defense, something had to give in Houghton on Thursday.
In a back and forth battle through the first pair of sets, the Lady Wolverines would use their defense as their strength to come away with an enormous third set win in extra serves, feeding off the momentum to finish off a four-set win over host Houghton Academy by a 25-17, 20-25, 26-24, 25-20 count.
Brena Walp and Haley Mascho were exceptional on the defensive front for the Lady Wolverines (5-3) all night long, keeping the ball off the floor to the best of their ability, with Mascho netting a whopping 54 digs, while Walp had 42 of her own to pair with 10 kills and four aces to help ignite the offensive efforts in the process. Furthering that cause was Carmen Crowley, who had a team-high 13 kills to go with six aces. Up front, Willow Worth rounded off with 25 assists.
Houghton Academy (5-3) saw Jess Prentice once again take charge of the offense with a strong evening, garnering a game-high 27 kills to couple with five blocks and four aces. Jessica Adenuga provided a solid defensive effort to pair with her attack, chipping in with 18 digs, 10 kills and four denials at the net to round off the scoring for the Lady Panthers, who are now off until Wednesday for a 6 p.m. first serve at Cuba-Rushford.
Bolivar-Richburg will aim to keep their winning ways going back home tonight, hosting the Lady Eagles of Fillmore in a 7:30 p.m. first serve.