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By Doris MacFarquhar

Lions send all 10 seniors out in style, nab 3-2 OT victories over C-R to complete Senior Night sweep


Chris Brooks Monday Roundup: Fillmore boys shutout A-L, And/Whi girls blank Franklinville  

WELLSVILLE — For one of the very last times this regular season on Monday, 10 Wellsville seniors competed in front of their home crowd on a field they’ve come to know so well since the very beginning of their soccer journeys.

With the season itself beginning to wind down, there was no better chance to build a full head of steam towards the second season than with a Senior Night visit from Cuba-Rushford.

In both contests, there were three common denominators shared. The first: a 2-2 tie on the scoreboard. Next, overtime was needed to decide it all after 80 minutes of hard-fought soccer.

The final element was the one that perhaps stood out from the rest — making an everlasting Senior Night memory for time to come.

When it was all said and done, Addy Clark and Ty Vogel were the overtime heroes across the Senior Night twinbill, as each Lion put away what was the game-winning golden goal for their respective squads in their respective battles, as Wellsville brought out the brooms and provided a clean sweep of the action in mirror image fashion — a 3-2 decision in extra time to send their seniors out with the biggest of bangs.

The ladies were up first to kick off the festivities, and it would begin with the Lady Lions (5-10-1) garnering primary control of the possession across the first 25 minutes of play, as they kept Cuba-Rushford pinned deep while applying continuous pressure on the attack. They hadn’t been able to provide some cracks, but there was still some knocking at the door.

Their biggest chance of the half stemmed off back-to-back corner kicks for Makenzie Cowburn. And although the first one could not find the proper strike, they were awarded a second chance — one they would not let go to waste, as Caelyn Stevens knocked in straight home on a pass from Alexa Hennessy, who retrieved the corner from Cowburn to set it up at the 14:18 mark to break the ice for the Lady Lions.

But the lead was not in their possession for very long.

The Lady Rebels (6-8) bounced right back and came up with a rapid response like no other, as Cloey Larabee began a rush into the Wellsville zone right after the kick at midfield and tied the game at one for the remainder of the half. Both teams would settle back in defensively to engage in another battle across the midfield for possession, as the first half officially closed its book with no further damage.

When the second half arrived, it would see Wellsville continue knocking at Cuba-Rushford’s door once again to keep the Lady Rebels defense on edge once again with multiple shots on goal. But each time, Lilly Johnson-Clark came away victorious with a save.

Crossing the midway mark of the second half however, the Lady Lions would eventually find their go-ahead edge again with the assistance of Jaden Dunbar, who helped the Lady Lions springboard back into the driver’s seat on a ball in front to the Lady Rebels net buried within a mass of players parked out front.

Dunbar would pry the ball free, shake off the remaining defense to open up a scoring lane and then fire it home to the right side of the cage for a 2-1 lead.

The lead was held intact going into the last 10 minutes of play, but the Lady Rebels used some big time quickness and clutch awareness to tie the game at two. After the Lady Lions began to push out of their own zone with a goal kick handled by Lydia Kaye in goal, a free kick was awarded to Cuba-Rushford after Kaye eclipsed the top section of the box.

Upon calling of the foul, Larabee was the first to speed towards the ball for the Lady Rebels, and without hesitation, caught the Wellsville defense off-guard with a shot that sailed straight into the net with 5:49 left in regulation to tie the game at two to force overtime.

But despite all the late second half pressure that Cuba-Rushford was able to apply, the Lady Lions found a way to come out on top at the end of it all, as Addy Clark fired in a shot from 30 yards out, taking two big bounces towards the goal before slowly rolling its way into the net to finish off the victory.

Between both teams, 29 combined shots were recorded on offense, with Wellsville narrowly outshooting Cuba-Rushford by a 15-14 count. In net, the win was divided amongst Kaye and Lauren Viglietta, as the two Lady Lions netminders recorded a combined 12 saves to earn the win.

On the other side, Johnson-Clark would also make 12 saves for the Lady Rebels.

The regular season is over for the Lady Lions, as they now await Sectional seeding in Class B with a record of 5-10-1 overall. As for Cuba-Rushford, they head back out on the road again on Wednesday with a 6 p.m. visit to Andover/Whitesville, in Andover.

As for the boys team, they would have to ward off a tremendous push from the Rebels across the entire first half of play. Despite all the pressure that pushed them against the wall early on, they broke through with a 1-0 lead at the half.

In the last 40 minutes, a fight until the very end, as the back-and-forth battle raged on to ultimately force one final session of extra time in the Lion’s Den. This time, one extra step forward was taken between both squads, as no further damage was recorded after 90 complete minutes of soccer.

But when the last 10 minutes separating the Rebels and Lions from a tie came into view, Ty Vogel made sure the night would end perfectly for all involved, as the Wellsville junior picked up possession just past midfield and ripped a rocket that sailed straight through the hands of Alex Baron in between the posts for the Rebels and to the top shelf of the cage to send his team into a frenzy, as the Lions wrapped up a perfect Senior Night with a 3-2 victory of their own in double overtime.

“There’s something to be said about the dynamic of playing under the lights on our own field,” said Lions coach Bethany Faulkner. “It’s something we’ve been missing almost the whole season on the road. The boys showed up tonight to win with a mental toughness I haven’t seen this season. Gavin Haggerty had some saves and punts tonight that were noteworthy, along with his talk in the back to shift the defense better than we have been doing. I could see our fatigue after the first overtime, but we’ve talked a lot about mental stamina, and making that choice to dig deeper. I was glad to see Tyler have that kind of finish with that shot. That hole had been left there all night, and it was like it was made for him.”

Before the double-overtime heroics set up the stage for the Lions (3-11), they would have to overcome some early first half adversity brought on in full by the Rebels, as they controlled much of the gameplay deep in the Wellsville zone, accumulating multiple opportunities at the net along the way.

Despite it all, the hosts in black and white worked their way through it with an eventual 1-0 lead at the break thanks to Aiden Cowburn, as he collected the ball from center for his rush in, finishing the play in one foul swoop on a shot filled with zip by hitting straight off the left post and back across to the other side of the net where it would work its way across the white line just enough to count as an official marker to break the ice.

Although they were trailing going into the second half, there was no quit for the Rebels (7-6-1), as they tied the game at one in the first 10 minutes of play with the first of two Robert Childs goals, connecting with Tanner Lewis at the 30:47 mark. The deadlock would remain secure, but only for the two minutes and change with Blake Kalkhof’s score to put the Lions back on top.

The battle across the field was reinvigorated between both teams closing in on the halfway point of the second half. In the midst of the dead heat, the Rebels sewed the lead back together again with Childs’ second marker straight off a corner kick with 18:45 to go, keeping the score tied together heading into overtime.

After one fierce overtime period reached its conclusion, the two foes were ready for battle one more time. And with just 1:17 removed off the clock, the game was ended by Vogel and his monstrous kick to Cuba-Rushford’s top shelf in the net, as he ended the game in thrilling fashion to give both Wellsville teams the sendoffs they wanted for their seniors.

“Wellsville really brought the energy tonight. It was their Senior Night and they were definitely ready to play,” Rebels coach Rob Wight said. “I thought despite the outcome, our guys really bounced back from Saturday. We created a lot of chances and controlled most of the game. Sometimes, it just doesn’t go your way. I had a lot of guys in new sports, with Finn Ricketts, Luke Brooks and Caden Miller all stepping up in the back. Eventually, we will have to figure out how to put it all together again.”

Despite the victory, Wellsville was outshot by Cuba-Rushford on the front lines by a 24-10 count, but the win was for Haggerty to claim himself for the Lions after posting 21 saves. On the other side, Alex Baron made eight saves for the Rebels.

Both teams are back on their respective home pitches tonight, as the Lions prepare for a 5 p.m. visit from Bolivar-Richburg, while the Rebels head back home to welcome in Genesee Valley/Belfast in a 7 p.m. visit.


Fillmore 3, Allegany-Limestone 0

ALLEGANY — Head coach Jarrett Vosburg stressed to his Fillmore Eagles squad to embrace the challenges that lie ahead, especially in this present moment in time when the regular season has begun to officially wind down. Next up on the docket: Section VI titan, Allegany-Limestone.

With the regular season officially closing its curtain this week, the race to build momentum going into the second season was in full effect. For the Eagles, a humongous win over the Gators would help provide a big boost in the midst of their mad dash for the top of Class D against fellow Section V superpower Naples.

The Eagles are a team that’s known to work the field in quick fashion. That was evident again on Monday in the Swamp, when Henry Sardina broke it open right away after the opening kick, helping the offense set the tone while the defense survived a close midfield battle all game long with the Gators to pull out one of their biggest victories of the season — a 3-0 shutout to remain undefeated.

“Allegany-Limestone gave us just the challenge we needed as we make the turn to Sectionals,” said Eagles coach Jarrett Vosburg. “Jack Cool and Zach Sisson did some really special things for us today to win the center of the field, and our Senior guys like Noah Strickland stepped up in big ways and played one of their soundest games of the season. It’s always good to be able to win against a historically high-quality program like them. One more regular season test for us comes up next against GV/Belfast.”

Just over four minutes into the game, the Eagles (15-0) wasted absolutely no time making their presence known against the Gators with Sardina’s help, as Jack Cool handed out a big assist along for Sardina to break the ice.

The lead grew even more towards the tail end of the half with Sardina finding his way into the assist column himself, sending along a pass for Noah Strickland to bury home for a 2-0 lead at the intermission.

The action would heat up across the midfield for much of the second half’s time, with Fillmore continuing to cling onto their two-goal advantage of the Gators. But when the opportunity arose to put the game on ice, Jack Cool did just that with 12 minutes to go, scoring all by himself to grab a 3-0 lead that was cemented permanently.

The three goals by the Eagles were posted on eight total shots, as they narrowly outshot the Gators by an 8-7 count. All seven stops faced by Brayden Hennard were set aside, as he helped front the defense in one of their biggest shutouts of the season.

The Eagles will look to close out their regular season on the highest of notes back home Thursday night, hosting Genesee Valley/Belfast in a 7 p.m. first kick.


Andover/Whitesville 4, Franklinville 0

ANDOVER — The final week of the regular season for the Andover/Whitesville ladies started Monday morning in the midst of a dead heat against visiting Franklinville, where the midfield battle raged on between both squads.

With a scoreless deadlock waiting to be unlocked, the pressure would ramp up towards the end of the first 40 minute session.

With less than 10 minutes to go, it began to boil over. Andover/Whitesville was on the move, as they collected a pair of goals against the Lady Panthers to build a lead they would never lose, adding two more in the second half to ensure their eventual victory even further, as they coasted towards a 4-0 shutout in Andover.

“The girls played pretty well today. There were some nice combination plays that led to a few of the goals. We didn’t generate a lot of scoring chances in the last game, so it was nice to see the ball go in,” said Andover/Whitesville co-coach Aaron Rawady. “The defense was solid and got some big stops when needed. Liv (Waters) had another good game in goal and made some quality saves. We have two really tough games coming up, and hopefully this gives us a little momentum going into them.”

Andover/Whitesville (3-9) held off Franklinville in the midst of their defensive battle, which allowed Leigha Phelps to connect with the team’s first goal at the 8:11 mark, as she found an open lane through the Lady Panthers defense to shoot home the icebreaking score.

The lead allowed the hosts in black to build a strong burst of momentum to close out the opening half on a high note, as Makaila Brewster sent along a pass to Ava Grice to finish off a 2-0 lead at the break.

In the last 40 minutes, the game remained solely in Andover/Whitesville’s hands thanks to Graci Lewis-Ellison, who accounted for both of the team’s second half markers to further cement the advantage over Franklinville.

The first strike would come at the 21:08 mark, where she struck gold with a massive penalty kick before following up with a score off a pass from Grice nearly two minutes later to finish off the scoring.

Andover/Whitesville’s four goals came off 10 total shots against the Lady Panthers, surrendering 11 back to the other way — all of which were stopped by Olivia Waters in net to record the shutout.

Up next, a visit from the Lady Rebels of Cuba-Rushford, as Andover/Whitesville gets set for battle once again in Andover on Thursday at 6 p.m.

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