By ROB TUCKER
Special to the OBSERVER
JAMESTOWN - Kevin Rice hadn't heard much about Kirsten Green's prowess on the soccer field this season.
Photo by Rob Tucker
Pine Valley’s Amber Riggs looks to move the ball up field during the girls’ Chautauqua County senior all-star soccer game, in Jamestown, on Sunday.
Unfortunately, not many have.
But Rice, the coach of the White Team (of which Green was a member) in the 13th edition of the Chautauqua County Senior Girls Soccer All-Star Game, and the rest of the crowd on hand, discovered that ability in a hurry on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Martin Road Athletic Complex.
Consider him impressed.
"I didn't even know her because she was in a different league," the Silver Creek coach admitted of the most outstanding player honoree, "but once I saw that she had really good control of the middle I kept her there all day.
"She was all over the place, is a real aggressive player, is really good with the ball on her foot and just continually throughout the day made great decisions. She really got the outside halfbacks and forwards involved because she is so good at controlling and distributing."
Green, who finished her career as the Panama Lady Panthers all-time leading scorer with 33 goals, showed that instinctive quality necessary in a midfielder early on when she sent multiple, well-placed crosses into the area, though each went unconverted.
But with the game locked in a scoreless tie, Green finally facilitated what would be the game-winning score at the 28th minute as she carried the ball up the middle past a number of Blue Team defenders to the outer edge of the 18-yard box before sending a brisk pass ahead to fellow Lady Panther Megan Conway, who without hesitation buried the shot by diving goalkeeper Hannah Bensink for the 1-0 lead.
The White squad would score once more, early in the second half when Randolph's Elizabeth Roosa drilled a rebound off a corner kick into the upper 90, to capture the 2-0 victory.
Rice, taking part in the all-star game for the first time, enjoyed the experience.
"This was my first time being able to coach the end of the year all-star team for seniors, so it was wonderful," he said. "It's great when it doesn't matter who you put out or what position they play because you know they're all going to play really hard and really well. It makes coaching a lot easier, that's for sure."
With Green at midfield helping to control play, the White Team put consistent offensive pressure on their opponents. In the first half they racked up nine shots on goal to the Blue's two. The score, in short, could have been much worse were it not for Bensink (Jamestown), who made 10 saves - a number of which would have been easy goals against a lesser talent.
"She had a really great game," Rice said. "Man, she must have made four or five flat out outstanding saves."
Also with an excellent showing were the White Team goaltenders - Lauren Nickerson (Maple Grove), Jordyn Jones (Falconer) and Janelle Jasinski (Dunkirk). The trio, which played at 20-minute intervals, combined for the shutout with eight saves.
The Blue Team, which was led by the other most outstanding player Sam Mann of Frewsburg, got its offensive game in order as the game went on, and in the 34th minute had its best chance to score off a corner kick. But Jasinski made a save, as did defender Luci Sena (Chautauqua Lake) on the rebound, and the White held on for the shutout the rest of the way.
NOTES: For being named the game's most outstanding players, Green and Mann were awarded scholarships and a trophy by Fessenden, Laumer & DeAngelo.