At the beginning of the 2012 season, one of Port Allegany’s team goals was to claim sole possession of the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League North Division title they shared with St. Marys last year. Now, with just a few games remaining, they’re setting their sights higher, with a chance to run the table in the UAVSL before entering the District 9 playoffs.
On Tuesday, the Gators continued that quest by dominating a rebuilding Smethport squad, 8-2, to improve to 11-2 (7-0 UAVSL).
In a matchup of two 60-goal scorers, Scotty Brookens paced the Gators to an early 3-0 lead on what Clark said “ might have been the fastest hat trick I’ve ever seen,” while Port managed to keep Hubber star Dario Caminite to just one second-half goal. Tyler Kittilson also scored twice and Rudy Collver, Sam Kysor, and Eli Knapp added goals for Port, while Brandon Wright scored just before halftime for the Hubs. Ben Edgell put forth another strong performance in the Gator net, notching four saves – including a point-blank stop on a Caminite header – to pick up the win.
“In a normal game situation we would’ve subbed down, but we had to give the starting defense work against somebody like Dario,” Clark said. “He’s always so dangerous. We know that if we’re only able to score two or three goals and not able to put anything on net, Dario alone can keep them in the game. It is so nerve-racking playing against him. We had to respect him the entire game, we had to pay attention to where he was every last second.”
Port’s next three games, starting with a visit from St. Marys on Thursday, will decide the UAVSL title. Can the Gators get out the brooms?
“Hope so,” Clark said, but he knows there’s still work to be done. “We still have St. Marys, who can play us tough, and we only beat them 3-1 at their field. We have Coudy (5-1 UAVSL), and that’s a rivalry game. That’s another game where their emotions can bring them up and have them play tough with us. And they’re in second place in the league right now, so Coudy’s playing for a playoff spot. It’s not a given yet.”
With wins in two of their last four games, the Port Allegany girls soccer team takes a 4-9 record into its final UAVSL North game of the season, Wednesday’s Senior Day meeting with once-beaten Ridgway.
McKenna Johnson and Erika Helo each scored as the Gators swept Smethport with a 2-1 win last Wednesday, and Monica Crawford, Jessica Achar, and Somer Buchsenschutz each netted a goal at Kane on Monday night in a 3-2 victory over the Wolves. Freshman net minder Laura Fox earned both wins, making six stops against the Hubs and eight against Kane.
Even in the setbacks to DuBois Catholic (3-0) and Bolivar-Richburg (2-0), coach Travis Cowburn saw some positives from his young and still-learning squad.
“We’re reacting better, I think. It’s a far cry from where we started at the beginning of the year. Once we’re in shape and we start doing the stuff that we practice, they do really well. But we’ve just got to put the ball in the back of the net. We’ve got to capitalize on what few chances we get.”
The Gators get a nine-day break after the Elkers come to town before finishing the season with games at Genesee Valley and against Elk County Catholic.