By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
WELLSVILLE — After Saturday afternoon’s battle against Genesee Valley/Belfast, the Lady Lions of Wellsville wanted to leave that battle in the rearview mirror for good. A conversation was had between the Lady Lions and head coach Erica Aftuck right before the team made their grand entrance to the field.
The message? — Come together.
With the Lady Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg in town, the Lady Lions hoped to deliver on that promise. They would claim the game’s first lead near the midway mark of the opening half, heading into the break with the narrow lead. But when the second half came around, Wellsville officially came back together.
Across 10-minute intervals beginning almost immediately out of the gate in the second half, the Lady Lions demonstrated an outstanding second half of soccer, scoring three more tallies to further cushion their advantage while keeping the Lady Wolverines off the board complete, helping seal what was a 4-0 shutout at home to officially complete their rebounding performance.
“After our first game on Saturday, everyone was pretty frustrated,” said Lady Lions coach Erica Aftuck. “I’d say that was the first game all season we lost because we didn’t give it our all. Tonight, before the game, we talked about pulling it together and going back to playing like we did at the start of the season. All out, all game long. Makenzie (Cowburn) set the tone with a big direct kick to get the first half lead and give us confidence. We weren’t letting down. Lydia (Kaye) had some outstanding saves, which could have been game-changers. I am proud of the entire team, and everyone contributed tonight. This was a fun game.”
Makenzie Cowburn was able to take control of Wellsville’s (4-9-1) offense right near the 25-minute mark, as she earned a direct kick opportunity and capitalized on every bit of it from the 15-yard line to break the ice with a 1-0 lead they would hold all the way to the first half break.
Cowburn would keep the momentum on her side by making a rush into the Bolivar-Richburg (4-7) zone after a longball was sent in by the Lady Lions, picking it up and burying it home near side to claim a big lead extension in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Lizzy Seely was the next to reach the board at the 22:03 mark to grab a 3-0 Wellsville lead, as she broke away from the Lady Wolverines defense alongside Jaden Dunbar to her left. Dunbar provided the initial shot straight on goal, which created a big rebound on the other side for Seely to one-tap home to the near post.
The scoring concluded with 14:24 left to play, as Caelyn Stevens knocked home a shot straight to the top shelf after picking up a pass from her left from Carissa White. The four goals by the Lady Lions came off 28 total shots, as they outshot Bolivar-Richburg by a 28-4 count.
In net, Lydia Kaye made all four saves to record the shutout, while Caitlyn Steiner made 24 saves for the visitors, who now hit the road for a 5 p.m. visit to Avoca/Prattsburgh on Wednesday.
The Lady Lions will now hit the road themselves later on in the week, as they now begin preparations for a 7 p.m. visit under the lights against the undefeated Fillmore Lady Eagles.
(During the evening, almost $600 was raised for the Pink Pumpkin Project, which give financial assistance to families going through the battle with cancer. October is breast cancer awareness night. The 50/50 of $245 was won by Diana Pease who donated the winnings back to the Pink Pumpkin Project)