ST. BONAVENTURE — For the second time in as many years of existence, the Olean 1854 FC soccer team is moving up.
Riding an unbeaten season and with another championship appearance on the line, Olean topped SoHo FC, 3-1, in a Buffalo and District Soccer League 1st Division semifinal on Sunday at the Marra Athletics Complex.
Pete Coate and Kwame Oduro, the head coach of the Bona men’s soccer team, tallied highlight-reel goals on either side of halftime and Chris Waclawski notched a late insurance marker for 1854 FC.
For the second straight year, Olean assured itself a promotion to the league’s next level, earning a spot in next year’s Championship Division after jumping from the 2nd level to the 1st this summer.
Before that, top-seeded 1854 FC will play for the 1st Division championship, meeting No. 2 Lykan United for the title next Sunday (4 o’clock) at Nichols High School in Buffalo.
Manager Mike Martel’s team earned the No. 1 seed in last year’s 2nd Division playoffs and reached the championship game, but fell short of the title. The top three finishers in each division earn a promotion for the following summer.
Olean topped SoHo FC, avenging a 5-5 from the regular season, despite being without seven players.
“Unbelievable performance by the boys today,” Martel said.”That is why you have depth on the roster. Everyone stepped up and played a full game.
“The first goal was quality. (It was) a cross from Coty (Winchell) that Pete heads in with authority. That put us up early. It remained 1-0 through the half.”
He added: “About 20 minutes into the second half, Kwame puts in an amazing goal from about 50 yards out. A rocket.”
Winchell picked up two assists and Zack Linderman added a helper for 1854 FC. Jarrett Lecceadone racked up 10 saves.
Olean, now 10-0-3, and Lykan won their respective 1st groups in the regular season, but did not meet head-to-head.
“If we win that, we earn the ‘double,’” Martel said, “winning both the regular season and the 1st Division Cup.”