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Baby Black Bear by Chuck Wiser

B-R wins second Belfast Soccer Tourney title; Cowburn’s hat-trick not enough for Wellsville


Wolverines collect 2nd straight Belfast Tourney crown over GV/Belfast behind Gaines, Sisson; Cowburn nets hat trick, but Lions downed by A-A in Addison Consolation; Scio-Friendship falls 10-0

BELFAST — Partaking in tournament action in Belfast at the beginning of the season is something that Bolivar-Richburg head coach Mike Zilker and his team always look forward to, year in and year out. Having won the two-day twinbill’s title last season, the goal was to try and do it again once more against the same team they did it against — host Genesee Valley/Belfast.

Both teams battled tooth and nail across the field throughout the first half of play, but would remain deadlocked with no score on the board. As the teams regrouped during the break, one would maintain a hefty amount of momentum upon their return to the field.

That being the Wolverines, who wound up breaking a near 60-minute long deadlock with Genesee Valley/Belfast with a pair of goals in an eight minute span to jump out in front and on their way to a second straight tournament championship, securing a 2-0 shutout on Friday at the Rich Sullivan Athletics Complex in Belfast.

“This is an awesome feeling. Hats off to GV/Belfast, they are a tough team. They are talented and they have a lot of heart to give us a really tough match tonight,” said Wolverines coach Mike Zilker. “It was nice to see my team show up and play hard. Everyone stepped up and did their job. We had a few nice opportunities in the first half that we couldn’t capitalize on, but we could see the momentum was building for us. We stuck with our game plan and ultimately succeeded with it. It was a job well done by the fellas.”

Through the beginning stages of the battle, it was a fairly even timeshare of possession between both teams, with chances turning into key opportunities in the offensive zone. But the Wolverines (2-0) began to turn the heat up a notch towards the end of the first half with perhaps the game’s best strike off a pair of corner kicks, with the latter seeing Aydin Sisson work his way to the front of the Genesee Valley/Belfast cage with some nifty footwork, but they could not cash in with under 10 minutes left.

The pressure would continue to mount as time in the second half zoomed by, and with it, the boiling point was reached at the 20:59 mark when Sisson and Reiss Gaines began the first of two transactions for Bolivar-Richburg, with Sisson sending Gaines a breakaway ball on goal, wasting no time breaking the ice by burying it home.

The lead would hold across the next eight minutes until the Wolverines came together to push the lead out insurmountably with 12 minutes left to play, as Sisson cashed in on a goal of his own, capturing a loose rebound after an initial shot by Gaines was set aside by Kyle McCumiskey in between the pipes for Genesee Valley/Belfast (1-1), knocking it home for a humongous 2-0 lead to collect the tournament’s grand prize for a second straight year.

Bolivar-Richburg went on to outshoot Genesee Valley/Belfast by a 14-6 count, with David Abdo making all six stops for the Wolverines to record the shutout. McCumiskey made 12 saves for the hosts in black and grey on the opposite end of the field.

Prior to the night’s title game, Cuba-Rushford and Houghton Academy squared off in the Consolation round where the season’s first tie was ultimately met after 100 minutes of play, each scoring once for the 1-1 decision.

The Panthers (0-1-1) were the first to strike just past the 10 minute mark of the opening half, as Javier Velasco found the back of the Cuba-Rushford net on a play conducted by himself to break the ice. The lead was frozen in place going into the break, but the momentum would switch hands rapidly in the second half.

Just six minutes removed from the kick at center, the Rebels (0-1-1) netted the equalizer on a sequence that saw Houghton Academy goalkeeper Marco Zanini charge towards the ball on goal, but was intercepted by a streaking Tanner Lewis on the fly, providing the one touch to sneak it past Zanini and into the back of the net to tie the game at one, ultimately for the remainder of the game.

NY Land Quest congratulates all student athletes

Even though the game remained deadlocked, the balance of power shifted hands multiple times across the last 30 minutes of regulation and into overtime, where each team had their best opportunity to break the lock in the final minute of double overtime. The first chance came for the Rebels off a corner kick that was nearly punctuated by Jake Elliott in front of the Houghton Academy cage.

In turn, the Panthers came right back with a long ball past center that reached the foot of Ricky Song. It resulted in a last-second breakaway on goal. With time winding down, he let what was Houghton Academy’s final shot attempt go, but it sailed just high over the net when the horn sounded.

Despite the tie, it was a decision that Rebels head coach Rob Wight says helped provide a nice bounce back after Wednesday’s first round battle with Genesee Valley/Belfast.

“I thought my guys did a great job of bouncing back after a tough result on Wednesday,” he said. “It’s been difficult for them to adjust to a new coaching staff and a new playstyle, but the kids are really starting to buy into what we’re teaching them, and it’s beginning to come together piece by piece.”

The Rebels outshot Houghton Academy by a 17-8 total count in the contest, with Alex Baron making seven stops against the Panthers, while Zanini finished with 16 saves for the team in blue.

All four teams will resume play after the Labor Day weekend. Listed below are their next games ahead:

Bolivar-Richburg: vs. Cuba-Rushford, Thursday 5 p.m. at Brock Young Tourney in Scio.

GV/Belfast: vs. Houghton Academy, Thursday 5 p.m. at GV.

Cuba-Rushford: vs. Fillmore, Wednesday 7 p.m. in Hinsdale.

Houghton Academy: at Genesee Valley/Belfast, Thursday 5 p.m. at GV.

Addison Tourney: Cowburn nets hat trick for Lions, but Alfred-Almond swipes 6-4 Consolation win

ADDISON — Despite a strong offensive night from the foot of Aiden Cowburn to pace the Lions offense, the Alfred-Almond Eagles were able to ward off a late second half push from Wellsville in the Consolation round of tournament action in Addison on Friday, as they escaped with a 6-4 victory in a high-scoring affair to help close out the two-day twinbill.

Wellsville (0-2) found themselves down by a 4-1 count heading into the break, with Cole White scoring the team’s first goal off a strong feed pushed along by Ethan Bailey to eliminate Alfred-Almond’s shutout in the opening half. In the next 40 minute session, the offense followed behind Aiden Cowburn, who scored three straight goals to record the hat trick performance, with two helpers coming from Karson Grover before clinching his third on a penalty kick.

But the Eagles were able to hang on however, as they responded with two more crucial goals to maintain their lead against the Lions to secure a split of their two-day stay in Addison.

Nick Germain-Tardieu faced 26 total shots from Alfred-Almond, setting aside 20 of them during his time between the posts for Wellsville.

The Lions are back in action on Thursday when they hit the road once more for tournament action, this time to Wayland-Cohocton, where they will meet the defending Class D2 champion Mount Morris Blue Devils in a first round battle beginning at 5 p.m.

Alfred-Almond 10, Friendship/Scio 0

ALMOND — With a split of the two-day action in Addison now in the wagon, the Eagles of Alfred-Almond returned home on Saturday and opened their home slate of games with the biggest of bangs, as they picked up a massive 10-0 shutout of visiting Friendship/Scio.

Stats were not made available to report upon publication.

Friendship/Scio (0-1) will hit the road once more on Tuesday, visiting the defending Class D State Champion Fillmore Eagles in a 7 p.m. contest.

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