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Young & Dangerous

Connor Young is the 2023 OBSERVER/Post-Journal Boys Soccer Player of the Year

Southwestern junior Connor Young is the 2023 OBSERVER/Post-Journal Boys Soccer Player of the Year. OBSERVER File Photo

In Connor Young’s sophomore season, the Southwestern boys soccer team came up just one game short of capturing the program’s third sectional title.

The loss in the sectional final left a bad taste in the mouths of the Trojans and this year they were on a mission to win it all.

Leading that charge was Young.

Young started his junior campaign on a torrid pace and did not look back as Southwestern opened with three nonleague victories during which he scored three goals and two assists against Chautauqua Lake, then a hat trick in a 3-1 win over St. Francis, and he netted both goals in a 2-1 overtime win against Maple Grove.

Then, Young began a perfect season in the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association West Division, opening with two goals and four assists against Dunkirk. However, that was just warming up as he scored twice in a 4-1 win against the defending league champion Allegany-Limestone Gators in the next game.

That was just the beginning of a terrific league season in which Young was kept off the scoresheet just once as the Trojans finished 10-0-0 to win the title. He tallied 15 goals and nine assists for 24 goal contributions in the league.

Of all the goals Young helped find the back of the net, there was not a bigger one in the league than the overtime strike he had against Allegany-Limestone to preserve the perfect record.

After the Gators scored twice to force the game into overtime at Charles A. Lawson Field, Young finally found his opportunity in the 96th minute when he cut from left to right in the box and fired home the golden goal.

Young’s crucial goal set the path for the Trojans to win the league title outright with an unblemished record. For his efforts in the league, Young was named the All-Conference Player of the Year.

Young and the Trojans were not done after capturing the league title, embarking on a run at the Section VI Class B2 title.

Southwestern’s playoff run began against Bennett and the Trojans made it look easy in a 10-0 win in which Young scored two goals and an assist in the first 20 minutes.

Then, the next game was against the rival Gators in the semifinals, and Southwestern made it look easy to cruise back into a sectional final. Young scored two goals in the first 10 minutes, just 30 seconds apart, then he added two assists as the Trojans closed out the game 7-2.

Young was kept off the scoresheet in the sectional final when the Trojans prevailed against Lafayette 3-2 in overtime, but he made his mark in the Class B Crossover against eventual state champion East Aurora. Down 2-0, it was Young who got Southwestern on the scoreboard in the 27th minute, giving the Blue Devils all they could handle.

Young finished his season with 32 goals and 15 assists, being a part of 52% of Southwestern’s goals the entire season. On top of being named the CCAA West Division Player of the Year, Young was also named to the All-Western New York Small School team at forward.

For all of the reasons above, Connor Young is the 2023 OBSERVER/Post-Journal Player of the Year.

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