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Flying high

Bird’s late heroics lift Frewsburg in Central showdown

OBSERVER Photo by Jay Young Westfield/Brocton’s Juli Smith settles a ball during Tuesday’s CCAA Central Division game against Frewsburg in Westfield.

WESTFIELD — Frewsburg girls soccer let fly with just about everything they had over the course of Tuesday’s Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Central Division match against Westfield/Brocton (2-1-1), and in the end the scoring prowess of Raena Bird proved decisive.

The Bears improved to 4-0-0 on the year with a 3-2 overtime victory, thanks to game-tying and game-winning tallies from Bird down the stretch.

The junior midfielder played the part of savior with minutes remaining in regulation, bending in a 30-yard, right-to-left try away from diving goaltender Angel Busch to bring the contest back to even at 2-2.

Bird would double up on the heroics in the first overtime period, finishing off a crossing ball from Tyra Clark on the backside of the net to secure Frewsburg’s fourth straight win of the season.

“She stepped up big, we’ve been waiting for her to come out this year,” Frewsburg coach Scott Stone said. “She’s been playing well, but she’s been waiting to break through and get a couple of goals. There was no better time than tonight. She bailed us out a couple of times last year and she did it again tonight. We are lucky to have her.”

Despite sitting in a one-goal hole with minutes remaining in regulation, the Bears led in time of possession for much of the afternoon, peppering Busch to the tune of a 36-save performance.

Playing their patented style of bend-but-don’t-break defense, the Wolverines were able to take advantage of the offensive opportunities that did present themselves.

“Having Angel as my goalie has really helped, she’s made some awesome saves,” coach Neil Huber said. “I saw what they were doing to other teams. Our defensive philosophy has stayed the same every year that I’ve done this. We want to keep the ball in front of us. I’m very happy with how the team played today. Our transition has always been good. It helps when we have that experienced transition, we have speed up front. We took advantage of a couple of mistakes that they made, they did the same thing for us. We made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of it.”

Both Westfield/Brocton goals would come on fast-break transitions, with Sheala Barresi grabbing the first in the 35th minute of the first period.

Barresi would even things up with a long shot that took a bounce over the head of Frewsburg goalkeeper Madison Voty, who pushed out of her crease in an attempt to cut off the long attempt.

With 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Wolverines would take a 2-1 lead on another cross by Barresi, with Jacqulyn Ward finishing off a loose rebound on that chance.

“I was frustrated,” Stone said of his team’s offensive chances. “I feel like we dominated the game, and we gave up two bad chances and put them right back in the game. We have to do a better job of capitalizing early in the game. We hit the post three times, we missed a couple of breakaways. If we capitalize on our chances we don’t even come anywhere near overtime. I’m happy with the way we stuck it out, never gave up, obviously got the late goal, but we’ve got to finish earlier and not dig ourselves a hole like we did tonight.”

All of the offensive opportunities would belong to Frewsburg through the early going, with Reagan Chitester. Alexandra Hultberg, Nora Edwards and Tyra Clark leading the charge on Busch.

Clark would break the stalemate midway through the period when she won a battle in the air, heading home a cross by Kendal Sohl to make it 1-0.

The Bears will have another tough test on the road against unbeaten Maple Grove on Thursday, while Westfield/Brocton will travel to meet North Collins.

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