Postseason nail-biter

Falconer-CV edges Fredonia in boys soccer playoffs

OBSERVER photo by Ron Szot Fredonia’s Marcus Seastedt gathers the ball during the Hillbillies’ 2-1 loss to Falconer-Cassadaga Valley in the opening round of the Class B-2 playoffs Tuesday in Fredonia.

Ninth-seeded Falconer-Cassadaga Valley defeated eighth-seeded Fredonia by a score of 2-1 Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Section 6 Class B-2 boys soccer playoffs.

The match was the third meeting of the season between the two teams. The home team had won each of the previous meetings, most recently Fredonia’s 4-0 victory last week.

“Today, we played a little better,” said F-CV coach Dan Molfino. “Today we got the breaks.”

The game was scoreless early on, though both teams had scoring chances out of the gates. Fredonia narrowly missed on a shot from inside the box by senior Seth Schrader, followed immediately by a shot off the post by Ben Anderson of the Golden Cougars.

The first goal of the game came shortly after, when Fredonia junior midfielder Caleb Reynolds scored his first goal of the season to put the Hillbillies on top 1-0.

The Fredonia lead did not last long, however, as the Cougars evened the score on a strike from senior captain Titus Miller just minutes before halftime. The goal was Miller’s sixth of the season. The score remained 1-1 at the half.

“Going into halftime 1-1, that’s a good situation,” said Fredonia coach Jim Rush. “40 minutes left with the season on the line, that’s all you could ask for.”

With one half remaining to determine the fate of both teams, the visitors came out firing. Falconer-Cassadaga Valley had two early scoring chances in the second half. Miller attempted a lob from long distance over the defenders that went just wide of the target, as well as another Cougars strike from the corner that just missed the mark.

With close to ten minutes remaining in the game, the Cougars got the goal they needed. Senior Elisha Johns chipped a shot from the box off the crossbar and over the line for the go-ahead goal. It was the third goal of the season for the forward.

The countdown was on after the go-ahead goal. Fredonia began to press offensively, while F-CV went into defensive-mode.

“With ten minutes to go in a playoff game, you’re playing defense,” said Molfino.

Despite a strong push at the end, Fredonia came up just short.

“They did everything they possibly could, “ said Rush. “We just fell short.”

Fredonia’s first season under Rush comes to an end at home, with a final record of 5-9-1.

“I have nothing but great things to say about this group,” said Rush. “These seniors… I’m going to miss them.”

Falconer-Cassadaga Valley (6-7-4) will travel to face top-ranked and undefeated Burgard in Buffalo on Thursday.

“It’s going to be tough,” said Molfino. “It’s very tough to compete against Buffalo schools, but you never know.”