Before the season, Port Allegany coach Aaron Clark suggested that Coudersport was a team to watch. The Falcons lived up to his expectations last Wednesday, defeating the Gators 2-1 in Port to remain the sole unbeaten team in the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League at the midpoint of the schedule. Ken Kysor scored the lone goal and Willie Postlewait stopped six shots for the Gators in the close loss.
Port returned to the field on Friday in St. Marys, for a game against defending league champion Elk County Catholic. With the score tied 2-2 and just over a minute remaining, Sam Shaffer knocked home a pass from Ben Osani to lead the Gators to their first victory against the Crusaders in the program’s short history.
“We’ve beaten a lot of teams we’ve never beaten before this year, won at different places. It was nice to be able to beat Elk County for the first time,” Clark said. Ken Kysor scored both of the other Gator goals, and Postlewait made 10 saves to pick up the win.
Port returned home on Tuesday to face Johnsonburg, with Kysor notching a first-half hat trick – and scoring for the fourth consecutive game – and brother Sam adding two goals in the Gators’ 7-1 win over a young Rams squad. Ben Osani and Max Parana also found the net, and Willie Postlewait, Tyler Smith, and Ben Edgell combined for three saves in a game which allowed Clark to give everyone on the team some playing time.
“Two in particular who really stood out were Jacob Stehle and Zack Sigafoes. I thought both of them, coming off the bench, did a fantastic job. Good effort from everyone,” he said.
Heading down the home stretch, Clark is pleased with where his team stands.
“Most of our games are at home in the second half, which is terrific,” he said. “If we could have been at .500 heading into our home games, I thought we would have been doing good. To be at 7-4 (6-2 league) and having all but two of our remaining games at home, I feel very good. So long as we can keep playing like we did tonight, we can start racking up the wins, clinch playoffs soon, and start playing for home-field advantage a little bit.”
Next up: a home rematch against Kane, who the Gators defeated 2-0 earlier in the season, at 4 p.m. Thursday. Port concludes its non-league schedule Saturday morning at 11 a.m. with a visit from the Class AAA St. Marys Dutchmen.
The Lady Gators made the long trip to Curwensville on Monday, falling to the Golden Tide 5-2 to drop to 3-4 in league, 3-7 overall. Bryanna Evans and Shanel Halle scored for Port, and Jordan Edgell stopped 22 shots in the loss.
“We just were not clicking for some reason,” coach Travis Cowburn admitted. “The defense had an off night, but the offense wasn’t doing well either.”
Asked about the team’s early-season rash of injuries, he said, “We’ve had chronic injury problems – four of our starters have just been hurt constantly – but I don’t think it mattered in our wins or losses. We should have more control than we do. Winning is an attitude, and right now we don’t have the attitude. I don’t know why, but we’re working hard to fix it.”
He added, “The league got better with us; after last year, everybody seemed to get better as well. We’re dealing with that right now.”
With seven league games remaining, Cowburn know his squad has some work to do to qualify for the playoffs.
“We play everybody again starting tomorrow (Wednesday), and hopefully we’ll make some noise … This is our season now,” he said. “If we want to make districts, we’re only allowed to lose one more game. (Other than ECC), we can stay with everybody, it’s just the attitude. If we don’t have the attitude, we’re not going to do well. The offense is coming, then it goes away. If they can do those little things that we work on in practice and do them in the game, we can do it. If not, it’s going to be a long second half.”
Next up: DuBois Catholic visits on Wednesday for a game slated to begin after this edition’s deadline. After that, the Lady Gators will travel to Smethport for a 9 a.m. Saturday kickoff.
On Sept. 28, Kyle Hildebrandt shot a 98 and Kody Taylor 117 in the opening round of the District 9 Championships, played at Pennhills in Bradford. The Gators concluded the regular season last week, matching last season’s 4-8 record.
At the Penn-York Invitational Sept. 24 at the Emporium Country Club, Lynea Gustafson shot a 45 to finish second to medalist Keri Hamilton, who carded a 41 for team champion Coudersport. Both girls were named to the league all-star team, along with Ashley Mackey and Olivia Chapman of Bradford, Bre Dunsmore (Cameron County), and Hannah Fink (Coudersport). Mackey was named this year’s Most Outstanding Athlete with a 45-stroke average in league play.
Next up: the final regular-season match of the year at Kane on Thursday, followed by the District 9 Championships Oct. 5 at Clarion Oaks, with golfers trying to earn a trip to the PIAA Western Region tournament.
This Saturday morning at Genessee Valley Park just ouside Rochester, N.Y., the Port High runners will join teams from across the Northeast and Ontario at the 45th Annual McQuaid Invitational, with well over 200 teams and 7,500 runners entered in one of the largest meets in the country. Port’s junior high squad will step to the line first, in a race slated for a 9:36 a.m. start. The varsity team will run in the unseeded A-3 (smaller schools) race, which is scheduled to begin at 9:48.
The Lady Gator spikers stretched their North Tier League record to 3-0 with a four-set win over Smethport on Sept. 22, before dropping tough matches to two of the league’s best teams, Oswayo Valley and undefeated Otto-Eldred. They took a break from the league schedule on Saturday, advancing to the semifinals and tying for third place in the 10-team Sheffield Tournament.
Next up: defending league champion Coudersport visits the Port High gym on Thursday night for a match against the 4-4 (3-2 NTL) Lady Gators, with the junior high match scheduled for 6 p.m.
Results, and head coach Sharon Daniels’ comments on each match:
Port Allegany 3, Smethport 1 (25-14, 25-17, 16-25, 26-24)
“Port jumped out to an early lead in the first set, 11-0 before winning 25-14. The second set was that much closer and we dropped the third set. The fourth set was a real nail-biter right down to the last point.”
Jenny Shelly: 16 service points, 5 kills, 16 assists
Alyssa Bowser: 5 blocks, 6 kills, 19 digs
Renee Edgell: 11 kills
Kelsey Pistner: 9 service points, 1 block, 5 kills, 28 digs
Rachael Taylor: 7 service points, 3 blocks, 10 kills
Oswayo Valley 3, Port Allegany 0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-20)
“Oswayo Valley is a well-balanced team who played everything well. We looked out of sync for most of each set. A positive on the night, once again the girls did not stop playing when they got down in score. At one point in the second set they were down by 12 at 18-6 and ended up only losing by five, 25-20.”
Becky Andrus; 20 digs
Jenny Shelley; 2 kills, 16 assists, 7 digs
Alyssa Bowser; 1 block, 11 kills, 30 digs
Renee Edgell; 1 block, 4 kills
Kyley Mickle; 10 assists
Kelsey Pistner; 3 blocks, 7 kills, 18 digs
Rachel Taylor; 2 blocks, 4 kills
Otto-Eldred 3, Port Allegany 2 (25-16, 25-19, 23-25, 16-25, 15-12)
“What a GREAT match! It is a shame that anyone had to lose. After a two-set deficit the girls battled back hard to take the match to five sets.”
Becky Andrus: 13 service pts, 23 digs
Jenny Shelley: 5 service pts, 21 assists
Rachel Taylor: 10 service pts, 10 kills
Alyssa Bowser: 6 service pts, 2 blocks, 7 kills
Renee Edgell: 4 blocks, 8 kills
Kyley Mickle: 6 service pts, 4 kills, 9 assists
Kelsey Pistner: 6 service pts, 7 kills, 10 blocks