Three games into the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League season, it looks like Scotty Brookens and his Port Allegany Gators are picking up right where they left off.
Brookens, already Port’s all-time leading scorer with 36 goals after his junior season, netted seven more as Port advanced to the championship game of the Galeton Tournament on Saturday, then overwhelmed Ridgway 7-1 in Tuesday’s UASVL opener.
On Saturday, the Gators downed Williamson 4-0 in their first game, with Brookens recording the hat trick, Tyler Kittilson adding a goal, and Ben Edgell making 12 stops to earn the shutout. That sent them into the title game against Northeast Bradford, with the Panthers claiming the crown 3-0 despite nine saves from Edgell.
“A mixed day,” Port coach Aaron Clark said. “The first game, it took us a while to get going – the tournament really is just there to help us knock some of the rust off a bit. The first game, overall, we were pleased with. We actually left a few goals on the field; we lost a lot of opportunities. But overall, the real concern had been the defense, and in the first game the defense played well. Even in the second game with a 3-0 score, the defense still did very well. Ben Edgell played great. He kept us in the second game almost single-handedly. So it was a positive weekend. We were able to kind of walk out of there with some confidence, and trust that we have a solid team.”
That confidence carried over into Tuesday’s home opener, with the Gators cruising to a comfortable win over the Elkers. Brookens added four more tallies to the school record,with Kittilson (2) and Rudy Collver also finding the back of the net and Edgell stopping five shots to pick up his second win.
“It was a slow start for a bit,” Clark said. “Ridgway played tough for the first 10 minutes, but we were eventually able to wear them down after a while. It’s just the very beginning of the league schedule, but we’re confident and hoping that we’re going to build up and just keep getting better. Three games in, the defense probably played their best game of the season so far. Everybody in front of Ben helped keep Ben clean. He didn’t have to do to much. With the exception of one slight defensive error that led to the goal that they scored, Ben really had to do very little for us.”
The Gators (2-1) play a non-league home game against Olean’s Archbishop Walsh at 4 p.m. Thursday, then embark on a four-game road swing next week to ECC, Brockway, Smethport, and Saint Marys.
The Port Allegany girls soccer team dropped a pair of games in last weekend’s season-opening Bradford Tournament, but the Gators didn’t go down without a fight against their hosts and an always-strong Portville side.
In what coach Travis Cowburn called a “fast-paced great game” in the opener, Port and Bradford played to a halftime 2-2 tie before the Class AA Owls managed to pull away in the second 40 minutes for a 4-3 win. Lynae Delacour netted a pair of goals and also assisted on a score by fellow sophomore Somer Buchsenschutz, while freshman Laura Fox made 14 saves for the Gators.
“We still have a lot to learn as I must keep changing things up to find the right combination of the newly constructed defense,” Cowburn wrote in an email to the Reporter Argus. “They are playing hard and we will improve steadily. The weather was very hot as both teams went down with cramps time and time again. I was very proud of their effort.”
A 10 o’clock start the next morning didn’t leave much time to recuperate for the young Gators or for Portville – the No. 1 seed in last year’s Section 6 Class C playoffs – who lost to Olean on penalty kicks Friday night. Nether team could solve the other’s defense in the first half, before the Panthers finally claimed a 2-0 victory on a pair of goals by Shawna Lowe.
“Our young defense has a lot to learn yet but seem to be quickly learning from the miscues being made,” Cowburn wrote. “Fitness is still the Achilles heel of the team as we tend to lose touch on the ball and become more spectators late in the game when we need it the most. Freshman goal keeper Laura Fox had another outstanding game with 10 saves. She is becoming a ‘rock’ back there and has stepped up to most of the challenges put before her. Midfielder McKenna Johnson and defender Cheyenne Helo are doing a tremendous job. Their leadership has helped the Gators raise a few eyebrows.”
After opening the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League schedule with a home match against Saint Marys on Wednesday, Port (0-2) travels to DuBois CC the following afternoon.
The Port Allegany volleyball team didn’t lose a single match during the 2011 regular season, carrying a perfect 16-0 record into the District 9 championship round. Judging by early results, the Gators are going to be just as tough to beat this year, dropping just a single game in two non-league matches to open the season.
In Friday’s Gator-vs.-Gator showdown at Allegany-Limestone, Port jumped out to a 2-0 lead, then held on for a 3-1 (25-16, 25-15, 23-25, 25-20) win.
“It’s always good to get that first win under your belt, and overall we played well,” coach Sharon Daniels wrote in an email to the Reporter Argus. “We have lots to work on, one of which is to speed up our offense and earn more points, quickly getting us to 25. Last night we relied on the opponent’s errors for too many of our points. We struggled getting the ball to our middles; fortunately Ashley Woodruff (16 kills, 11 digs) was hot and tallied some big points. Jenny Shelley (32 assists, 10 kills, 15 points) and Becca Lathrop (9 points, 4 kills, 2 1/2 blocks) both played a smart right side and scored on strategy. Defensively at the net, the girls were tough. Rachel Taylor (7 kills, 5 1/2 blocks), Brooke Roys (8 kills, 7 1/2 blocks) and Becca combined for 15 blocks to shut down Allegany’s offense.”
On Tuesday, the Gators cruised to a 25-2, 25-6, 25-15 straight-set victory over visiting Galeton. Shelley once again led the way with 19 points, 4 kills, and 17 assists, with Amber Naylor (14 points), Taylor (10 points, 4 kills, 2 blocks), and Woodruff (7 kills) also garnering mention.
“Good team win,” Daniels wrote. “All players contributed. We executed our offense better than last Friday evening. Serving was very effective.”
Port (2-0) has the rest of the week off before starting the North Tier League season at Northern Potter next Tuesday.