Sept. 19, 2013
The Port Allegany boys last lost an Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League North Division game in 2011. After finishing a perfect 10-0 in the league last year on the way to a 16-4 overall record, they’re almost halfway to doing the same this season.
The Gators picked up three more wins last week, following up their 4-3 decision over Elk County Catholic by sweeping past Portville (7-3) and Smethport (6-2), then notching their first shutout of the season against St. Marys, 4-0.
Tyler Kittilson continued to fill up the opponents’ net, tallying a pair of goals in each game to push his total to 15 for the season and 55 for his career. Just shy of a year to the day after Scotty Brookens became the first Port High player to hit the 50-goal mark, Kittilson equaled the feat with his first score at Portville, and could make a run at Brookens’ career total of 80.
“It was just a matter of time for him,” coach Aaron Clark said. “It was nice to get it out of the way early, so he didn’t have to mess around with it at all. He’s on a nice pace. If he can keep up what he’s doing, he might be able to push Scotty’s school record before the season’s over. He’ll at least get close.”
Eli Knapp, MacKenzie Elliott, Logan Hutton, Dane Kio and Logan Stuckey also found the scoreboard on the trip across the state line to play the Panthers, with Garrett Talkington making three saves to pick up the win in goal.
The combination of a slick field and a hustling Smethport team kept Thursday’s game scoreless almost midway through the first half, before Hutton drilled a shot off the Hubbers’ keeper and in. A pair of freshmen opened up a 3-0 lead, with Elliott scoring off a corner kick and Calvin Burleson pinballing a delivery from Trent Miller off the crossbar and across the line, and Kittilson knocked home another corner to give Port a 4-0 margin at the half.
The Hubs weren’t done, though. A shot by Tyler Koch slithered past Talkington and just inside the post to put Smethport on the board 10 minutes into the second half, and less than two minutes later, Josh Tanner buried another goal to halve the lead.
But just when it seemed momentum was shifting to the visitors’ side, Kittilson struck again, heading the ball forward to Knapp in front of an open net to make it 5-2 and then converting a cross from Elliott for another goal of his own to account for the final margin.
“Port’s got some solid kids up front,” Smethport coach Bruce Nelson said. “Kittilson’s been playing for a long time. He’s good. I thought we should’ve controlled the midfield a lot better than we did, and we just didn’t do that. So that gives them the opportunities up front, and unfortunately they score off them.”
The shutout against the Dutch on Saturday morning was the team’s first since back-to-back games against Coudersport and Kane last season, with Kio and Knapp adding goals and Talkington needing just four saves to record his first career clean sheet.
It will be another busy schedule for Port (6-1, 4-0 UAVSL) this week, traveling to Coudersport on Tuesday and Kane on Thursday, then picking up a non-league home game against the Falcons on Saturday morning.
Sometimes progress shows up in the win-loss record, sometimes not.
The Port Allegany girls soccer team had one of each of those results in their last two games, dealing Kane a 3-2 loss last Wednesday to match their number of victories from the entire 2012 campaign, then playing a tough Ridgway team to a standstill before dropping a 1-0 decision to a Lady Elkers squad that dominated them in both meetings last season, winning by six goals in one game and via 4-0 shutout in the other.
Monica Crawford, Somer Buchsenschutz, and Lynae Delacour each scored and Laura Fox stopped six shots against the Lady Wolves, the third consecutive win for the Lady Gators.
In an email to the Reporter Argus following Monday afternoon’s game against Ridgway, coach Travis Cowburn wrote, “Defensively we were very tough. Farrah Fischer shut down their most dangerous threat and left it up to the rest of their team to score. They had very few chances to score. We had our chances but they are just so fast defensively they we were making it very difficult for our offense to move. Their fast-paced action was the difference in the game. They are physically fit and anticipate every ball kicked. They just beat us to every 50/50 ball. All in all I was very proud of our feistiness. Our touch was very poor, otherwise we would have put some numbers on the scoreboard. We will be ready for them next time.”
Now 4-3 (2-2 UAVSL North), Port hosts St. Marys on Wednesday in an attempt to split the season series with the Lady Dutch, then travels to Friendship (N.Y.) on Saturday morning.