Saturday Sectionals: No. 1 Red Creek tops Wolverines behind stout defensive effort, lone 1st half goal to clinch Class C2 title; Wellsville, C-R, Houghton volleyball all advance to Semifinals with win
By Chris Brooks, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
AVON — Regardless of what would occur after Saturday night, the season that the Bolivar-Richburg Wolverines have been able to put together on the pitch, is nothing short of extraordinary.
Winning games one after another, shattering long-standing school records, you name it. It was all accomplished in what has been their best season ever. All of it was established to put toward what would be their most memorable run through the postseason, leading towards their first ever shot at capturing all of the long-awaited glory that waited on the other side of Saturday’s Class C2 Final against No. 1 Red Creek.
For the Wolverines, it would be their very first time in their very first trip, but for the Mules — Section V’s most decorated soccer program, it would be their 24th overall.
The Allegany County stalwarts would give the Mules everything they had left in their biggest game of the season. playing like it could be their last. Numerous scoring chances would pile up for the Wolverines, but the Red Creek defense simply would not let anything by them.
As a result, it allowed them to strike on the other end just past halfway in the opening 40 minute session, as Gonzalo Dorado knocked in the game’s lone goal from straight in the middle of the Bolivar-Richburg box, as they used their defense from that point forward to hold their lead down despite all the pressure from the Wolverines, to claim their the Class C2 title through a 1-0 shutout in Avon.
“1-0 is not the outcome that we were hoping for, but we had an amazing season. We broke a lot of school records, we had lots of fun and we had a lot of firsts,” said Wolverines coach Mike Zilker. “We truly have nothing to hang our heads about. I have great kids, and great kids returning next year to pick up where we will leave off until next year. The sting of losing will fade, and the desire to get better will come to the surface, and we will find a way to bounce back from this. We have to remain humble and hungry, because we are B-R. Ohana!”
Bolivar-Richburg (15-3-1), through a good portion of time in the first half, was the first to apply a bundle of pressure up against Red Creek, taking control of possession and winning the majority of the battles across the midfield to keep the Mules on their feet. At times, there were some bending of the Mules defense, but no breaks.
Instead, the top seeds took charge a short time later and provided some pressure of their own at the 25-minute mark, ultimately resulting in the game’s first and lone goal from Dorado off a direct kick in towards the Wolverines net. A shot that Dorado would eye in the midst of a scrum, digging it loose and firing it home behind David Abdo for the only lead the game would see in its entirety.
Through it all, the Wolverines would do everything in their power to try and hop their way back into the game, garnering multiple scoring opportunities, a bulk of them off six corner kicks, but the Red Creek defense remained vigilant to keep Bolivar-Richburg in front of them almost the entire time, limiting them to just three shots on goal.
Red Creek would outshoot their opposition narrowly, by a 5-3 count in a defensive battle until the end. In goal, Abdo made four saves for the Wolverines.
The future remains bright for the Wolverines after some phenomenal successes the past three seasons counting, garnering three straight trips at least the Semifinal round, the latter of which resulting in the program’s very first Finals appearance in school history post-merger.
Bolivar-Richburg’s best season to date has officially closed its chapter, as they finish up with a record of 15-3-1 overall, with the team graduating seven seniors at the end of the school year in Ian Unfus, David Baldwin, Evan Pinney, Ryder Easton, Jaeger Turybury, Noah Little and Hunter Walp.
All of which, monumental pieces towards the Wolverines success story in recent seasons. But with the help of some seasonal soccer programs the school holds, Zilker believes that Bolivar-Richburg boys soccer is back on the map, especially after their historic season this year.
“B-R soccer is heading in the right direction. I have a great summer soccer crew that helps develop our kids. I have a great modified coach in Casey (Allen) who does a tremendous job developing kids into great players, and my assistant Matt (Abdo) who has that desire to serve and help out wherever I need him. I am truly blessed to be working with these people, and these kids.”
As for his seniors, Zilker said that “We will miss them, but I’m already looking forward to the kids that will step up and fill in the voids those guys will now leave behind for them. They have done so much for this program, and I simply cannot thank them enough.”
Class C1 Quarterfinals
No. 3 Wellsville 3, No. 6 Mynderse 0
WELLSVILLE — The Sectional journey through the Class C1 field got underway for the Lady Lions of Wellsville on their home floor for the final time this season, Saturday evening. With No. 6 Mynderse in town for their first test, it was a chance to send the home crowd out one last time with a bang.
Through the game’s opening set, the Lady Lions would do just that, as the No. 3 seeds took control from start to finish, despite some late pushing by the Lady Blue Devils down the stretch, to record a straight-set sweep to claim their spot in Wednesday’s Semifinal round, taking the 25-15, 25-23, 25-21 decision.
Behind the team’s success on the offensive front was Bry Moultrup, who tallied a game-high 10 kills to pair with one ace. Lindsey Stuck added along some more help of her own with six kills, five digs and two aces from the back line, while Natalie Adams (one ace) was not far behind herself, contributing five kills.
Helping further the team’s cause was Morgaen Howe, who had five kills, three digs and an ace, and Macey Wyant who rounded off with eight digs off the floor to go with two aces. Setter Maddy Parks was busy at the front of the net, handing out 26 assists to pair with five more aces to continue fueling an excellent day of service.
Wellsville will now get set to face No. 2 Midlakes in the Class C1 Semifinal round, which takes place on Wednesday at Letchworth beginning at 5 p.m.
Class D1 Quarterfinals
No. 6 Bolivar-Richburg 3, No. 3 Gananda 2
GANANDA — It was not easy by any means, but after a back-and-forth battle that ensued all across the evening in Gananda, the No. 6 Lady Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg saw an opening against the Lady Blue Panthers and ran away with it.
After they fell in the closest decision of the night in the middle set, they were pushed towards the brink of elimination. Despite it, the Lady Wolverines remained resilient, as they rebounded in the biggest of ways to turn the tables on third-seeded Gananda down the stretch, scoring wins in each of the last two sets, including another tough battle in the game-tying set to squeeze out a tough five-set victory for the upset — a 16-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 15-8 win.
Charging the heroic efforts for the Lady Wolverines (12-6) were Brena Walp and Carmen Crowley, who were all over the floor across all five sets, with Walp leading the efforts with 19 team-high kills, 13 team-high digs and five aces, while Crowley chipped in with 15 kills of her own, pairing them with 11 digs and five aces.
On defense, Haley Mascho was absolutely superb, recording 23 big digs, while Kori Thomas added some more offensive and defensive help with eight kills and six blocks. At the front of the net, setter Willow Worth finished with a whopping 31 assists.
Up next, the Class D1 Semifinal round for the Lady Wolverines, as they now travel to Wayland-Cohocton to face No. 2 Letchworth for a spot in next week’s Finals. First serve is slated for a 5 p.m. start.
Class D2 Quarterfinals
No. 2 Cuba-Rushford 3, No. 10 Campbell-Savona 0
CUBA — The Lady Rebels of Cuba-Rushford had to battle through some tough opening stages of their Class D2 Quarterfinal battle in the Wighthouse, Saturday afternoon.
With No. 10 Campbell-Savona riding their coattails early on, the Lady Rebels were able to find their groove shortly after, as they scored wins in all three sets, including a dominant second set they built a whirlwind of momentum from to set up shop down the stretch, securing their place in the Semifinal round next week with the 25-18, 25-12, 25-18 win.
The Lady Rebels (11-5) saw a strong afternoon of brilliant service come into fruition, with Kendall Tompkins and her 29 assists leading the charge, compiling 10 team-high aces along the way to pair with three kills and two digs. Jordyn Radomski (seven digs, five kills) added in seven more aces from the service line, while Lauren O’Keefe powered up her performance led by five kills, four aces and two digs.
Rounding off Cuba-Rushford was Bri Green, who had a solid performance at the front of the net with seven kills of her own, coupling them with one ace.
On Wednesday, the Lady Rebels will now get set to face No. 2 Lyons in the Class D2 Semifinal round at Bath-Haverling, beginning at 5 p.m.
Class D3 Quarterfinals
No. 4 Houghton Academy 3, No. 5 Fillmore 2
HOUGHTON — One thing is for certain on Saturday: there will be no Class D3 Finals rematch this year, as both No. 5 Fillmore and No. 4 Houghton Academy went toe-to-toe for the third and final time this season in the Quarterfinal round down the road in Houghton.
Five grueling sets were needed in last year’s Finals matchup in LeRoy, a game that the Lady Eagles were able to hang onto by the skin of their teeth to capture their long-awaited Class D3 prize for the first time since 1995.
But this time around, it was Houghton Academy’s turn.
Despite a marathon fourth set to push the Lady Panthers towards the brink again, the hosts would remain on their feet in the fifth and final set to decide it all, as they found their groove to coast their way towards victory in the end to claim a spot in next week’s Class D3 Semifinal round, knocking out the defending champions by a 19-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-27, 15-6 count.
Houghton Academy (11-7) saw two more monster nights from their dynamic duo — Jess Prentice and Jessica Adenuga reach its truest form again, with Prentice leading both the offense and defense with 31 digs, 28 kills, seven aces and four blocks. Adenuga chipped in with 17 digs herself along with 16 kills, pairing them with four more aces and two blocks.
The team’s setter in Abby Reitnour handed out a game-high 40 assists to go along with 11 additional digs, and two more aces.
Statistics for the Lady Eagles were not made available to report upon publication.
Fillmore’s season has reached its conclusion, as their title defense ends in the Quarterfinal round to their neighbors from just down the road, finishing with a record of 8-11 overall. The team will graduate seven seniors all together, in Zoe Hubbard, Skylar Gaddy, Emma Beardsley, Cadence Evans, Jessi Rust, Morgan Valentine and Emily Reed.
As for the Lady Panthers, their journey rolls onto the Class D3 Semifinal round which begins on Wednesday, as they prepare for a 7 p.m. road trip to LeRoy to face either No, 9 Avoca/Prattsburgh or top-seeded C.G. Finney for a spot in next week’s Finals.