Weekly Feature

2018-10-11 / Sports

EA girls soccer wins three league games

East Aurora’s girls soccer team bounced back from a rare setback to defeat Pioneer on Oct. 3, 2-1, in one of its toughest ECIC III contests to date.

Coach Craig Polston echoed the sentiments of other ECIC III coaches in noting that Pioneer “is a tough place to play for whatever reason,” as East Aurora got off to a slow start that saw it finish the first half deadlocked at 0-0 despite having “lots of opportunities to score.” East Aurora finally broke the stalemate at the 22-minute mark of the second half when Katherine Jancevski knocked in an unassisted tally, and that lead would last for most of the rest of the stanza before Pioneer appeared to send the game to overtime by recording the tying goal with just under two minutes to play in regulation.

Julia Patterson came to the rescue for the Lady Blue Devils, however, when she took a pass from Ellie George and buried her shot with just nine seconds to spare to prevent the contest from moving into an extra session.

“Close games like this one are a good learning experience for us – myself included,” Polston said. “You don’t want to win every game 3-0. You know come the playoffs that these tight games are bound to happen, so you have to be ready to keep your head on your shoulders and work your way through it when you’re faced with adversity.

“We’ve been in some close games this year, and we seem to rally around each other when we get in those types of situations. There’s a tendency when things aren’t going well to start bickering with each other, but this group has been in those tough spots and they know how to battle out of them without panicking.”

East Aurora came into the Pioneer game looking to bounce back after dropping a 2-1 non-league decision to St. Mary’s of Lancaster two days earlier. The Lady Blue Devils took an early 1-0 lead not even two minutes into the contest on a goal by Katie Kivari, with Jancevski picking up the helper. That’s where the score would stay until there were 10 minutes left in regulation, when St. Mary’s uber-freshman Shae O’Rourke assisted on the tying goal and, nine minutes later, scored what would be the game winner.

“It was a great non-conference game for us, but looking back I think I may have mismanaged some things by having us play a rather conservative game after we scored,” Polston said. “They’re a very talented team with six or seven elite academy-type players, and I think we learned a valuable lesson about the need to play for the full 80 minutes.”

East Aurora came into the St. Mary’s game feeling good about its chances after having demolished Cheektowaga on Sept. 28 by an 11-0 count. Kivari scored three of the team’s first four goals, all within the game’s first 16 minutes, to pace the team. George and Isabel Deoca each added two goals for the victors, while Ella Rabey and JV call-up Sydney Sarafin each scored a goal and assisted on three others.

Jancevski chipped in with a goal and an assist, while Beth Schiltz also found the back of the net for East Aurora. Kate Rachwal assisted on a pair of tallies to contribute to the team’s well-rounded effort.

East Aurora’s recent run began on Sept. 25 with a 3-1 triumph over Amherst. Jancevski scored all three of the Lady Blue Devils’ goals, giving them a 1-0 lead 20 minutes into the first half and a 2-1 lead 10 minutes into the second half. Rachwal and Hannah Kenefick picked up assists on those goals, with Jancevski’s final tally, at the midpoint of the second half, being of the unassisted variety.

“Amherst is a very good team that is very well coached and well organized, so we knew we needed to play a pretty good game against them,” Polston said. “They’ve got a talented striker who we wanted to play a certain type of defense against in order to prepare us for the playoffs, when we’re going to see good teams with good players, and this game let us run a bit different of a formation that we hadn’t really had the chance to run earlier in the season. It was a good win for us for sure.”

East Aurora (11-2-1, 10-0-0 ECIC III) returned to action Tuesday against Maryvale, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Lady Blue Devils close out their regular season this evening by hosting crosstown rival Iroquois.

A win over Maryvale would guarantee the Lady Blue Devils of at least a share of the regular-season title, but Polston – while not looking past the Lady Flyers – noted that his squad wants to finish the season undefeated in league play.

“We just need to come out and play to our own standard,” Polston said. “We need to execute the way we expect ourselves to. With Iroquois specifically, they give us some matchup problems at certain positions on the field, so we’re going to have to switch some things up from the first time we played them this year. We’ll try to slow the game down a little bit to get the matchups we want and that we can control a little better.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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