PAHS Sports Briefs for Sept. 8-14

Cross Country:
Boys – Oswayo Valley 18, Port Allegany 38
Girls – Oswayo Valley 27, Port Allegany 29

Port’s cross country teams traveled to Shinglehouse early in the week for a dual meet against Oswayo Valley. The Gator girls barely missed the program’s first win, falling to the home team by just two points. Jessica French recorded the winning time of 22:35 on the OV course, with Jackie Lewis (25:30) and Desi Tanner (25:36) also finishing in the top five. On the boys’ side, Justin Lewis came in fifth against a strong group of Green Wave runners, crossing the finish line with a time of 19:52.

The Lady Gators golf team fell to Coudersport on the Falcons’ home course last Monday, 34 ½ to 20 ½. Lynea Gustafson continued her strong play, earning medalist honors by shooting 47 for nine holes. After a ten-day break, the team returns to action this Thursday afternoon in a rematch at Coudy. A similar quirk in the schedule left the boys’ team without a match last week; they resumed play on Monday, when they traveled to the Smethport Country Club to face the Hubbers and the Otto-Eldred Terrors.

Boys’ Soccer:
Sept. 8 – Saint Marys 2, Port Allegany 0
Sept. 9 – Port Allegany 9, Ridgway 0
Sept. 11 – Port Allegany 1, Smethport 0

Port took a break from the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League schedule on Monday to get in a game against the Dutchmen, a Class AAA team. “We actually dominated Saint Marys – we had 23 shots to their 13 – but they converted on their chances, their goalie played well, and we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” Gators head coach Aaron Clark said after the loss.

The Gators rebounded to overwhelm a young Ridgway team 9-0 the next night. Kirby Elliott led the Gator attack with three goals, Tyler Payne netted one for his team-leading fifth score of the season, and Denzel Middleton, Ken Kysor, Ben Osani, Sam Shaffer, and Max Parana all scored against the Elkers. Ryan Sabolcik and Willie Postlewait combined for four saves in the win.

According to Clark, his team is a little ahead of where he thought they’d be at this point. “Honestly, if we would have been .500 going into most of our league matches, I would have been thrilled,” he said. “Right now, we’re 3-0 in the league, and if we keep doing what we’re doing, we can challenge for a league title. That’s kind of nice … but we still have to keep winning. It’s still extremely early in the league schedule.”

On Thursday, a 3-1 Smethport squad arrived at the Mill Street field intent on avenging their loss to the Gators at the end of last season. The teams played a scoreless, evenly-matched first half, with neither side able to get many quality chances on goal.

“Smethport plays a defense-first style,” Clark explained after the game. “They pack everything into the middle, and it’s very difficult to get a decent shot against them.”

Play began to shift toward the Smethport side of midfield in the second half, before Kirby Elliott finally managed to find the net in the 71st minute. His goal, on an assist from Jon Burkart, gave the Gators a 1-0 win to keep their unbeaten league record intact.

Ryan Sabolcik stopped seven shots to earn Port’s third shutout of the season, while Adam Groshek had nine saves for the Hubbers, who fell to 3-2 (2-1 in league) with the loss.

The Gators (5-2, 4-0 in league), one of just two Pennsylvania teams to earn mention in the latest Olean Times Herald Big 30 soccer rankings, hit the road for matches at Brockway and Coudersport this week before returning home to face Elk County Catholic on Saturday morning.

Girls’ Soccer:
Sept. 8 – Kane 2, Port Allegany 1
Sept. 10 – Saint Marys 4, Port Allegany 1
Sept. 13 – Port Allegany 5, Smethport 1

Down 2-0 to Kane, Bryanna Evans headed Kaitlyn Kio’s throw-in past the Wolves’ goalkeeper to bring Port back within one, but the Gators couldn’t net the equalizer. While head coach Travis Cowburn was disappointed by the loss, he was thrilled to see Kio’s and Evans’ effort result in a goal. “We’ve been working on that play a lot in practice,” he said, “and it was great to see them get one in a game.”

Port scored first against Saint Marys and the match was tied at the half, but the Class AAA Lady Dutch – a school twice Port’s size – netted three goals after the break to pull away for the 4-1 victory.

“We’re almost there,” Cowburn said the next day. “It’s slowly coming together. They’re giving me everything they have; now, we just have to take that last step and learn how to finish games.”

On Saturday morning, his team did just that against Smethport’s first-year program. Bryanna Evans scored two goals to pace the Lady Gator attack, with Amanda Kelly, Kari Drabert, and Kaitlyn Kio also finding the back of the Hubbers’ net. Senior goalkeeper Cortney Barnett saved two shots for her second win of the season.

While Evans and Kelly are battling for the team goal-scoring lead, Cowburn also praised the play of midfielder Amarae Reinard. “She’s our steam engine,” he said. “Right now, she’s the one driving this team.”

Following six straight road trips, the 2-4 Lady Gators finally returned home to play a match on their own field, taking on Ridgway on Sept. 16.

Sept. 10 – ECC 3, Port Allegany 0
Sept. 11 – Austin 3, Port Allegany 0

The Gator spikers lost a 25-13, 25-22, 27-25 decision to Elk County Catholic on Wednesday before opening North Tier League play in Austin on Thursday night. The Panthers prevailed in their home gym, winning a tightly contested match by scores of 25-22, 25-22, 25-16, to drop the Lady Gators to 0-4 on the season. They returned to action against Oswayo Valley on Tuesday night before traveling to Smethport on Thursday.

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