Port Allegany Reporter Argus
October 15, 2009
In a physical battle between two playoff-caliber teams, Chris Healy’s hat trick allowed Smethport to sweep the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League season series against Port Allegany with a 5-3 victory Tuesday afternoon at the Mill Street field.
“Good battle,” Port coach Aaron Clark said. “They played really well in the first half, and we didn’t. We played really well the second half, they didn’t. The cumulation of the two things, they just played a little bit better for more of the game. Good, physical team there, but we stayed with them and didn’t let down. Good lesson for the playoffs.
“They just had a little too much firepower for us today,” he concluded.
The first half was played in Port’s end of the field, with Healy notching his initial goal at the 27:13 mark. Dario Caminite’s header made it 2-0 with 5:30 remaining, and the Hubs had a chance to add another one before halftime, but midfielder Denzel Middleton stopped a Healy breakaway to keep the Gators in the hunt.
The momentum seemed to favor the Gators early in the second half, as heavy pressure led to three quality scoring chances in the first five minutes. Port couldn’t get one across the line, though, and Levi Lewis gave the visitors a 3-0 lead at 32:43.
“I was worried that was going to deflate them a little bit, but they seemed to recover pretty well,” Clark said. “They oftentimes have pretty good short-term memory.”
The Gators responded quickly, with Jon Binder burying the rebound from Ken Kysor’s free kick to cut the lead to 3-1 at 27:40. The same two connected again a few minutes later on a goal set up by Scotty Brookens’ run, and with 22:24 remaining, Port was down by one and keeping the pressure on.
“Every time we come to this field, Port plays us tough,” Hubbers coach Bruce Nelson said. “We knew that coming in. We hoped to jump up on them quick and we got the first couple of goals, but they just don’t quit over here. That’s the way it always is.”
That’s when Healy, one of the Big 30’s leading scorers, made his presence known. He scored his second goal on a solid run with 12:51 left, giving the Hubs a little breathing room. And after Sam Kysor netted his own rebound to bring the Gators back to within 4-3 at the 9:06 mark, the Smethport senior finished off the hat trick as the final minutes of the game ticked away.
“He’s very good with the ball up front, so we just feed it to him and see what he can do,” Nelson said. “Aaron’s got a nice team over there; I wish them well in the playoffs – as long as we don’t see them,” he added with a chuckle.
Smethport improved to 10-3-1 with the win, while Port dropped to 9-6 (8-3 UAVSL). Both teams should be among the top seeds when District 9 playoff pairings are announced shortly. After visiting Brockway on Thursday, the Gators conclude their regular season next week with a game at Coudersport on Monday and Wednesday’s home finale against Elk County Catholic.