BY CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor wellsvillesports.com
CAMPBELL — Sophomore Evan Billings was the star of the show for the Wellsville Lions on their latest road trip Monday night. Across all 80 minutes that their battle with host Campbell-Savona would see, his goal was the only one that found the back of the net, as he put the Lions on top for good in the first half while Logan Dunbar provided an incredible showing in goal to help secure the 1-0 win over the Panthers.
The first career Varsity goal for Billings was recorded right near the midway point of the opening half for Wellsville (5-7-1), as he collected up a pass provisioned off by Aiden Cowburn from center, burying it with no hesitation to put the visitors in white and orange ahead, ultimately for the remainder of the game.
The Panthers, despite the loss, were able to force 17 shots against the Lions defense to keep the pressure mounted against them. But with resiliency and poise in between the posts, Logan Dunbar was able to keep Campbell-Savona off the board by making every single save he was faced to ensure the victory at game’s end.
Wellsville is now off until next Monday night back home in the last week of regular season action before Sectionals begin, as they host the Cuba-Rushford Rebels in a 7 p.m. battle under the lights in the Lion’s Den.
Girls soccer: FIllmore 3, GV/Belfast 0
The chase towards coaching supremacy began in the midst of what was the biggest season ever for the Fillmore Lady Eagles on the soccer field.
After their magic carpet ride through the playoffs last year ended in the State Semifinals to eventual champion Mount Academy, the countdown resumed from the top as soon as the calendar flipped to this past September. The number to reach that historical marker was 12 — a very attainable distance given the program’s history itself, authored by Jon Beardsley.
For years, the County’s highest distinction has been held by legendary Belmont Golden Bears and Genesee Valley Jaguars soccer mastermind, Judy Bliven, who was responsible for bringing back home the grandest prize of them all in the school district’s inaugural season back in 1996.
As her incredible career came to a close in 1999, Bliven has continued to occupy the girls soccer throne since then, with 391 career wins.
Now, with the season beginning to zip by in a flash and with Sectionals all of a sudden now a pair of turns around the corner away, the Lady Eagles and their longtime head coach now found themselves at the forefront of the highest pinnacle one could reach from the sidelines, from a local standpoint — the County’s All-Time winning marker, after 11 straight wins have begun their regular season.
To get there, an opposition who also shares a top spot in defensive prominence: Genesee Valley/Belfast, stands in their way.
What better time, and even more so, a better place to make some everlasting history than at Judy Bliven Field itself on a chilly Monday night to start the brand new week.
The Lady Eagles would deliver another shining hallmark in the Jungle paid in part by a first half lead that was built quickly by Hope Russell, who wound up scoring two of the team’s three goals — totaling a Section V-leading 33 for the season, to give them the room they needed to retrieve career victory No. 392 for Beardsley to become Allegany County’s All-Time winningest girls soccer coach behind a 3-0 blank of Genesee Valley/Belfast.
“The record makes you feel good, but we all know it takes so many things to go your way. Most importantly, girls like this year’s team and in the past made a lot of us look good. I have been fortunate to have kids who are willing to put in the time and effort to be the best that they can be,” said Lady Eagles coach Jon Beardsley. “I have a great support system, in particular, Jeff Fuller has my head assistant. Outside my wife, this guy spends more time with me than anyone and he has my praise and admiration. The list of people that makes things like this happen is endless, and I consider myself lucky.”
Beardsley also noted some inspiration that he had drawn from Bliven throughout his career, beginning in the early stages of his coaching career back in the mid-90s, paying particular attention to her coaching style which he had learned, formed and implemented into his own over the years in Fillmore — a well-oiled machine.
“She kicked our butt in my first years of coaching in the mid-90s. I’ve always been a bit obsessed with watching and following other coaches from the high school to the professional level. Early on, Judy is definitely someone I was watching and trying to learn from. I always wanted to know what the heck she was doing to create the players and program she had going on at Genesee Valley, and at Belmont. What I remember most about her, was her desire to compete and it was machine-like. This is what you do, and if you do it, you will win. They did.”
As an added bonus on top of Beardsley’s highest honor in his long-standing career with the Lady Eagles: With their victory over Genesee Valley/Belfast, a collection of an eighth straight Allegany County League title would come with it, as the efforts of Hope Russell paid some early dividends for the visitors in white and green, with her first goal coming nearly five minutes into the game, taking a pass from her sister, Grace Russell and knocking it in to break it open.
The momentum carried onward down the homestretch before the half reached its close, with Hope adding an assist to her resume on Malory DeRock’s goal with 12:33 left to go to earn a 2-0 Fillmore (12-0) lead ultimately, at halftime.
The lead would remain in tact in the midst of a defensive battle across the field until DeRock repaid the favor to Hope near midway, as she garnered the assist on the Section V-leading score at the end of the night to push Fillmore’s lead out insurmountably, keeping a stout Genesee Valley/Belfast (8-3-1) attack and defense at bay across the full 80 minutes.
“The game was a great test for us. Playing an early Monday game away from home poses its own obstacles,” Beardsley said. “You throw in an opponent like GV/Belfast, and it has the makings of a battle. Of course, scoring early gives us some breathing room, but they won a lot of 50/50 balls early on, and our passing game was finding our opponent more than our teammates. Our work rate improved as the game wore on, and I thought that was the difference. Malory had an outstanding game for us in the midfield, Hope knows how to finish the ball, and our defense was once again tough to beat.”
Beardsley added on the win, circling back to coaching the kids that he has coached, saying “All this though ultimately comes back to the kids I coach. I really do think the world of them. Winning is a lot of fun, but I promise you that my top priorities are for them to be better each and every day, on and off the field, and that they know that I care about them, win or lose.”
Fillmore would take the 8-2 advantage over Genesee Valley/Belfast in the shot department, with Preslee Miller making both saves in between the pipes to record the shutout. On the opposite end, Ashley Burrows made four saves for the hosts.
Both teams are back on the field Thursday night in a pair of 7 p.m. exchanges, with the Lady Eagles heading back home to welcome in Wellsville, while Genesee Valley/Belfast hits the road to visit Bolivar-Richburg.
Cuba-Rushford 2, Wellsville 0
CUBA — After two hard-fought battles that went into extra time with Genesee Valley/Belfast and Canisteo-Greenwood, the Lady Rebels of Cuba-Rushford would make sure that the third time was the charm on Monday.
Through a midfield battle that spanned across the entire first half, the action began to heat up with time becoming of the essence. In the last 15 minutes of play, Cuba-Rushford would make the most of that time by breaking through Wellsville’s grasp to find the back of the net not once, but twice, creating the only lead the game would see, as they were rewarded with the 2-0 shutout on their home turf.
“We created a good amount of chances, but Makenna Dunbar was really tough in goal for them. She made some really good saves to keep us on our feet,” said Lady Rebels coach Aaron Wight. “Taylor (Searle) had a great finish on the break, and then Cloey (Larabee) added the big piece of insurance that we really needed. They put us under a ton of pressure in the second half, but Tara (Duvall) came away with some big saves to keep us in it for the long haul. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going into Senior Night on Thursday.”
With the first 40 minutes speeding by without any responses on offense, the defensive battle progressed on. Along the way, it would see its first opening with nearly 70 minutes removed off the clock, as Taylor Searle opened up the scoring for the Lady Rebels (5-6-1) with a breakaway goal off a pass sent along by Fran Childs on the way to get them on the board first.
The lead would hold, despite all the pressure that the Lady Lions (1-10-1) would apply on the hosts in blue and white, as a big piece of insurance would come along towards the tail end of the battle with Cloey Larabee grabbing the right angle and even more so, the right amount of accuracy to lift a direct kick straight into the Wellsville goal to conclude the shutout victory.
The two goals came on 20 total shots that Cuba-Rushford would have, as they outshot their opposition by a 20-4 count. Tara Duvall would make all four stops in net to record the shutout.
For Wellsville, Makenna Dunbar made 18 saves.
Both teams are back on the field Thursday night, with Cuba-Rushford remaining home to welcome in Friendship/Scio for a 5 p.m. first kick, while Wellsville hits the road once more with a 7 p.m. contest in Fillmore.
Hammondsport 1, Friendship/Scio 0
HAMMONDSPORT — Just a single goal was collected between both Friendship/Scio and Hammondsport in their first game to start the brand new week on Monday.
And it was one that was scored after a lengthy battle all throughout the field. Right past the halfway mark, it was the host Lady Lakers that scored the decisive goal to grab the upper-hand from that point forward, as they took a 1-0 lead on Friendship/Scio and never let go of it to race off towards victory.
Danica Dresser accounted for the lone goal of the evening for Hammondsport, which was collected after a pass was dished along by Sam Pratt to bring it all together with 18 minutes remaining in the game. The Lady Lakers defense would hold steady after garnering the lead, as they allowed only one shot from Friendship/Scio (3-8-2) to reach their net.
Friendship/Scio is back on the road with a quick turnaround tonight, as they visit Jasper-Troupsburg for a 7 p.m. kick.
Bolivar-Richburg 2, Houghton Academy 0
BOLIVAR — The last time that Houghton Academy and Bolivar-Richburg last faced one another, was in the season-opening tournament at the Rich Sullivan Complex in Belfast, in what was a Wolverines Championship victory in an early instant classic.
About a month later, both teams are playing some of their best soccer. No better time for it, right?
At Dunsmore-Latimer Field in Bolivar, all the stars aligned on a chilly Monday night for another phenomenal battle between the two foes, one that could be perhaps used as a final measuring stick before the Sectional tournament officially begins to kick into gear in two week’s time.
Through most of the battle, the defense was put on display. Although chances were garnered along the way through it all, none would find their way into the back of the net. As time continued to tick away, the chances for one team on goal began to mount up in the offensive zone. Almost to the point where a sudden burst would happen at any moment.
That was the case for the red hot Wolverines.
Near midway in the second half, after a scoreless tie with the Panthers at halftime, that deadlock would find its first break with the hosts hopping onto the board first. With the goal in their hands to work with, the building would begin, adding one more massive piece of insurance in the last 10 minutes of play to solidify a humongous 2-0 shutout of Houghton Academy to record their 10th win of the season.
“Houghton is a great team, and I feel like we played hard for all 80 minutes,” said Wolverines coach Mike Zilker. “The boys had a nice showing, and we really took advantage of everything that we earned. This is the right time to be playing some great soccer with Sectionals coming up. This is a humble and very hungry group that is ready for any challenge to come their way. A win’s a win, and we’ll take it anyway it comes.”
The wait for the scoring to reach the scoreboard would end after a highly-competitive first half battle closed up. The book was reopened for even more battling across the field for a good portion of the second half until a big opportunity to strike came for the Wolverines (10-1-1).
Near midway, Landon Barkley and Reiss Gaines were on the move into the Houghton Academy zone, performing give-and-gos on the way in before one final pass from Gaines to Barkley was issued, with the play being finished off to the right side of the Panthers (8-4) net to connect with the game’s first icebreaker. It would remain intact all the way until the 6:12 mark when Gaines found the back of the net on his own jurisdiction after an attempt to clear the zone by the visitors was re-gained by Aydin Sisson next to the near sidelines.
After a couple of finessing moves to the inside, a cross was delivered straight out to the front, where Gaines would come up with the header to knock the big piece of insurance away, giving Bolivar-Richburg the room they needed to keep their victory in their back pocket.
The Wolverines would outshoot the Panthers in totality by a 15-3 count, with David Abdo making all three saves in between the posts for the shutout. Marco Zanini would make 13 saves for Houghton Academy on the other end.
Both teams are back on the field with quick turnarounds tonight on their home fields, with Bolivar-Richburg welcoming Canisteo-Greenwood into Dunsmore-Latimer Field for a 6 p.m. battle, while Houghton Academy heads home to host Northstar in a 4:30 p.m. contest of their own.
Friendship/Scio 3, Hammondsport 0
SCIO — The chance to provide a big bounce back after a crushing defeat to the hands of Canisteo-Greenwood over the weekend, now presented itself for Friendship/Scio back on their home field, Monday evening.
Fortunately for the hosts in blue and gold, the tandem of Jordan White and Ethan Davenport were at the top of their game, as they combined to score all three of the team’s goals, including a two-goal night from White to get the offense settled in with a halftime lead they never let go of, strolling past visiting Hammondsport with a 3-0 shutout in Scio.
“It was nice to come back and get a win against Hammondsport. We hadn’t found our identity when we last played them, but we have definitely gotten better and we’ve been playing better since that game,” said Friendship/Scio co-coach Dillon McFall. “We should have had more goals, but we’re still having trouble finishing the plays. We have to relieve some of that stress off our defense. Hopefully, we can see some momentum offensively, and get ourselves set up the right way for Sectionals to make some noise from it.”
The first two goals of the night for Friendship/Scio (4-8-1) were awarded to White, who found the back of the Hammondsport net with them to gain a 1-0 lead at the break, and then add to it with his piece of insurance later on in the second half. To ensure their lead was insurmountably pushed out even further, Ethan Davenport would add in one of his own off a Brendan Loucks helper to do so.
The three goals for the hosts came on 12 total shots at the Lakers net, as they won the offensive battle with a 12-6 advantage in the shot department. In goal, Taylor Moore made all six saves he was faced against to preserve the shutout.
Friendship/Scio will return to action on the road Wednesday night, taking on the Hinsdale Bobcats — winners of three straight, in a 7 p.m. first kick.
Hinsdale 1, Genesee Valley/Belfast 0
BELFAST — To build up momentum for the second half, a little bit of pressure building and recording scoring chances will usually do the trick before the halftime break settles in. Through a scoreless battle in Belfast across the first half, the time to do just that was quickly ticking away.
That chance would arrive in the nick of time for the Bobcats of Hinsdale with seconds remaining until the horn would sound, as they connected at the right place and at the right time in front of the Genesee Valley/Belfast goal to record the game’s lone goal to give them the edge they needed to come away 1-0 winners to spoil Senior Night at the Rich Sullivan Complex.
It was Preston Jackson who worked the ball free from the Genesee Valley/Belfast defense straight in front of the goal. After a scrum began to form, an attempt to clear by the defense was quickly intercepted by the Bobcats (4-7) and regained by Jackson, who would find the right opening through thick and thin to give them the lead they wound up holding for the rest of the game.
Across the board, shots were dead even between both clubs, each gathering six shots, with Celeb Elliott making all six stops for the Bobcats in the shutout. On the other end, Thai Norasethaporn made five saves.
A quick turnaround for Hinsdale is on the horizon tonight, as they travel for a 5 p.m. contest at Archbishop Walsh, while Genesee Valley/Belfast now heads to Fillmore to meet the undefeated Eagles in a 7 p.m. kick under the lights.
Fillmore 11, Andover/Whitesville 0
FILLMORE — After becoming Fillmore’s All-Time leading scorer from within the realm of boys soccer, Mitch Ward now found himself in a dead sprint towards another career marker that now sits firmly on the horizon — 100 career goals.
Entering Monday’s home battle with Andover/Whitesville, he sat six goals away from reaching that plateau. After surpassing the great Jesse Woolsey once for his All-Time leading scoring record, the dynamic Eagles senior would do it all over again by breaking the career points record, earning a whopping 12 points behind his five-goal, two-assist night for the host in their 11-0 shutout.
“Special shoutout to Mitch. We presented him with a game ball for breaking the career scoring record, and now tonight he breaks Jesse’s points record. We were firing on all cylinders tonight, and no matter who was on the field, we were able to play great possession soccer and generate a ton of chances,” said Eagles coach Jarrett Vosburg. “Mitch and Eben (Schilke) were in sync with one another all night, and our center-mids and stoppers did a great job as a unit starting our attack. Andover/Whitesville has a young team, and they’re only going to get better in a couple of years. They were great sports, and they never quit.”
With his five-goal performance — a season-high, Ward now finds himself a single goal away from cracking the 100-career goal plateau. A mark that may very well become a reality when Fillmore takes the field next, on Wednesday against Genesee Valley/Belfast. Helping further the offensive attack was Schilke, who primarily had a massive hand on the special teams enforcement, scoring once and handing out three assists.
Layton Sanasith scored once and added an assist, while Zach Sisson, Jack Cool, Nolan Krzeminski and Henry Sardina all found the back of the net themselves for the Eagles (11-0). From within the assists department, Brent Zubikowski, Jude Beardsley, Lucas Hersee and Damon Wood all had one. The Fillmore offense concluded with 27 total shots against the Andover/Whitesville (1-12) net, while the defense held their opposition to just five back the other way.
Luke Colombo made all five of those stops for his seventh shutout of the season, while Landon Ordway made 14 saves for the visitors. Andover/Whitesville is back home in Andover Friday night with a 6 p.m. contest against Houghton Academy.
Fillmore will now get set for their 7 p.m. contest back on their home turf with Genesee Valley/Belfast, Wednesday night.
Bolivar-Richburg 3, Fillmore 1
BOLIVAR — The Lady Eagles of Fillmore got off to the start they wanted against the Lady Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg, Monday night over the road, taking a dominant lead within the first set to provide a solid open.
But then a complete flip of the script. One of game-changing magnitude occurred, as the Lady Wolverines ran the table against Fillmore with perhaps their strongest performance coming in the second set to tie the match, constructing a big momentum shift that would remain in their favor for the next three sets to rally back and earn the four-set win (18-25, 25-12, 25-16, 25-14) on their home floor.
Right out of the gate, Fillmore (4-6) put together an incredible start to their game, battling back and forth early on with Bolivar-Richburg before they ran off towards a lead of as big as 10 coming down the home stretch, en route to a 25-18 finish.
But from the second set forward, the Lady Wolverines (6-3) rebounded in an even bigger way, countering Fillmore’s hot start with a tone-setter, tying the match with their most dominant performance of the night with an advantage that blossomed to as much as 13 points at one point to take the win.
Bolivar-Richburg would outlast a back and forth trade with Fillmore in the remaining two sets of action before they were able to end the evening on a scoreless run in the fourth and final set, to declare victory.
Leading the Lady Wolverines was a solid attack on both fronts from Brena Walp, who paved the way with a game-high 11 aces from the service line and nine kills. On defense, Haley Mascho and Carmen Crowley (six kills) combined for 22 digs, with Mascho earning 13 of them. Kori Thomas added some more help from the service line with her six aces and one block, while setter Willow Worth handed out 15 assists.
The Lady Eagles were paced by a seven kill, three ace night from Savannah Hosmer. Skylar Gaddy added in a five-kill, two-ace effort of her own, while setter Zoe Hubbard dished out 18 game-high assists up front. Fillmore will have a quick turnaround back home this evening with a 7:30 p.m. home contest against Canisteo-Greenwood.