Frewsburg girls complete perfect 16-0 season
FREWSBURG — Saturday’s Section VI Class C girls soccer championship game was essentially a coronation for Frewsburg.
No. 5 Chautauqua Lake made the second-seeded Bears work to retain their crown.
Sisters Alexandra and Ava Hultberg as well as their cousin, Ashlyn Samuelson, each scored a goal as Frewsburg capped a perfect 16-0-0 season with a 3-0 victory for its second straight sectional title.
“This is the best way to go out,” said Ava Hultberg, a senior playing her final game. ” … It feels great to go back to back.”
The Bears dominated their competition throughout the fall, outscoring opponents 66-6, including 48-1 over their final 13 games. Their perfect season also included a pair of wins over eventual Class B-2 champion Southwestern by an aggregate score of 7-2.
“We said we were going to be back here. I put a lot of pressure on the girls when I made that statement. They rose up and defended me,” said Frewsburg coach Scott Stone, who is also the Hultbergs’ stepfather. “We feel like we could’ve made a run at the state title. Right now, we’re just going to enjoy where we are at.”
The Thunderbirds were a worthy opponent Saturday at the Robert H. Jackson Athletic Complex.
Scoreless through nearly 25 minutes, Frewsburg got on the board with 15:27 remaining in the first half. Junior Raena Bird beat her defender along the end line, dribbled into the 18-yard box and then sent a cross through the 6-yard box. Waiting on the back post was Samuelson, who headed the ball into the net for her third tally of the season.
“Those crosses are a big part of the game. You have to be on the back side and be able to finish them,” said Samuelson, a sophomore. “There was a lot of traffic and people in front of the goalie. On that back side it was all free.”
“Ashlyn just came up huge. That was a huge goal to set the tone,” Stone said. ” … We practiced headers all week. When you play in championship games, a lot of times they are won in the air.”
Despite only leading by a goal at halftime, the Bears were very confident. Just three days earlier they were in a scoreless tie at halftime of their semifinal against Portville before exploding for four goals in the second half.
On Saturday it was Alexandra Hultberg’s turn to give Frewsburg some breathing room. After the team was awarded a free kick in the 44th minute, Hultberg stepped up to the ball and sent a long drive into the top of the net, out of the reach of Chautauqua Lake senior keeper Hailey Roush. The goal was Hultberg’s team-leading 16th of the year.
“Any time we get a free kick within 35 or 40 yards and Alex is stepping over the ball, we feel extremely confident,” Stone said. “She seems to do it in the big moments.”
Ten minutes later, it was Ava Hultberg’s turn to score. Off a throw-in, the ball found Alexandra Hultberg’s foot and the sophomore sent a cross into the box that found the head of Ava Hultberg, who sent it past Roush for a 3-0 lead.
“Don’t be afraid,” Ava Hultberg said of her approach to headers. “Just go up and take it.”
“I told her this morning, ‘Why not you today?’ We have so many scorers … but I had a feeling today they would come from some players they don’t usually come from,” Stone said. “For Ashlyn to get the first one and then Ava to finish her senior year, that’s like a storybook ending.”
That was plenty for the Bears, who thwarted every attack the Thunderbirds sent at them in the game. A defensive quartet of Peyton Yost, Reagan Chitester, Jacey Cappa and Rachael Kehrli was able to surround Chautauqua Lake’s Calla Zarpentine or Emma Lindsey every time they touched the ball.
“They do a good job of pressuring our offense. I told our girls we were going to have a few opportunities,” Chautauqua Lake coach Cole Gleason said. ” … Our offense is strong, but it didn’t show on the scoreboard.”
“If they don’t score, they can’t win,” Stone said. ” … Our defense stood tall again.”
The Thunderbirds defense, led by junior Sienna Collins, was equally impressive at the other end of the field, keeping Frewsburg’s Tyra Clark, Sam Annis and Kendal Sohl off the board within the flow of the Bears’ offense, but with two of Frewsburg’s goals coming off what were essentially set pieces, there was only so much they could do.
“We knew that we could only give us so many free kicks and corner kicks before they took advantage of them,” Gleason said. “Unfortunately you get shots like that that go in and you can’t do much about them.”
The Bears don’t look to be going anywhere soon. Losing just three seniors to graduation, Stone will return nearly his entire team — including 11 juniors — and be able to build from an undefeated modified team that finished undefeated and did not allow a goal. And another Hultberg will be joining the mix as Addison, a freshman this year, moves up to varsity.
“We dedicate our life to soccer,” Alexandra Hultberg said. ” … I couldn’t think of any other way to end the season than with my family.”
“We’re going to have some fun in our house tonight,” Stone said. “No doubt about it.”