The light goes on

Fredonia tops DHS in boys soccer for 1st time in seven tries

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Ann Wiberg Fredonia’s Jason Genovese (7) attempts to play the ball as Meracle Berakah of Dunkirk pursues during Monday’s high school boys soccer game.

For the first time in its last seven attempts, the Fredonia Hillbillies defeated the Dunkirk Marauders Monday night in boys soccer.

A great team effort — and two goals by Nolan Mages — led the Hillbillies to a critical, 2-0 league win in the CCAA West Division under the lights at the Orange Bowl.

Fredonia put pressure on Dunkirk early from the start with several opportunities, including two strikes that hit the post. However, in the 22nd minute of the game, Fredonia connected for its first goal, by Mages on a quick one timer on a perfectly placed crossing pass from Mike Persch.

“We had a lot of opportunities early in the game,” stated Fredonia coach Jim Rush. “We came close multiple times, but kept up the intensity throughout the game and our effort finally showed with a goal.”

The Hillbillies (2-6, 3-8) started the second half the same way they played in the first half. In the fifth minute of the second half, Mages connected with his second goal of the game as he was able to beat the defenders on an effectively placed pass from Jason Genovese.

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Ann Wiberg Dunkirk’s Josue Alfaro plays the ball, with Fredonia’s Michael Persch (9) close behind, during Monday’s boys soccer match at the Orange Bowl in downtown Fredonia.

“Mages played a great game today,” stated Rush. “He has come a long way this year. The combination of him and Genovese up front has been lethal lately.”

Fredonia finished strong in the second half, limiting Dunkirk’s chances. According to Rush, “We controlled the midfield today. Our second wave of defenders helped us keep the possession. We played east/west instead of north/south and I was pleased with many of our passes.”

Dunkirk (1-7-1, 3-9-1) put forth a great effort, but could not put anything completely together.

“We got off to a slow start today,” stated Marauders coach Zackery Meadows. “We worked harder in the second half. There were a few opportunities that we were not able to finish off. Fredonia played a great today and they kept us from playing our game.”

Dunkirk’s goalie Nick Hayes made eight quality saves in net to keep Dunkirk within reach. “Their goalie made some great saves,” stated Rush. “It was difficult to get the ball by him.”

Fredonia’s goalie Carter D’Agostino recorded the shutout with four saves.

“This was a great day for everybody of this organization,” said Rush. “The team never lost trust or faith this year after losing several close games. We were able to execute our plan going into the game making this a great team win. I am thrilled for the seniors as they were finally able to win this rivalry game against a tough Dunkirk team. Many of these players on both teams know each other and they have great respect for one another. This is a great rivalry and will always continue to be.”

Both teams play CCAA West games on Wednesday, with Dunkirk hosting Maple Grove while Fredonia travels to Olean.