Goals still ahead for Big 30 soccer
With playoffs nearing, five league championships up for grabs
By VINNY PEZZIMENTI
Olean Times Herald
With the last week of regular season soccer set to start this afternoon, there's still plenty to play for.
Of course, seeding position for sectional and district playoffs, but also league and division crowns.
Five league championships are still up for grabs, three for the boys and two for the girls. Therefore, this week is filled with marquee matchups.
You couldn't ask for a better appetizer for the main course, which is the postseason.
Go figure, Fillmore, the Big 30's lone unbeaten, girls or boys, still hasn't clinched titles in either of the leagues it's affiliated with.
Perhaps the most appealing area game on the docket this week is the Eagles' game at Wellsville this afternoon. Both clubs have been ranked 1 and 2 in our Big 30 poll for much of the season. They played to 0-0 tie in their first meeting.
Today's winner will likely determine the Expressway champion, unless, of course, there is another tie. Then Fillmore and Wellsville would share the crown. Based on how well the clubs have played, that outcome only seems right.
The Eagles should have an easier time locking up Allegany County Division I Wednesday at Genesee Valley. Fillmore (4-0 in league) has handed the Jaguars (3-1) their lone league loss, 2-0.
The other boys league up for grabs, Allegany County Division II, could be decided today as Belfast visits Houghton.
The Bulldogs must avenge a loss to the Panthers and win two other games this week just to earn a tie for the league title with Houghton.
ON THE girls' side, the most compelling league race is that in the Expressway Conference. Portville, Fillmore and Bolivar-Richburg all are still alive for the title.
In fact, if the Panthers down the Eagles at home Tuesday, the three teams will share the top spot. All will have the same record and all would have split against one another.
A Fillmore win means it and B-R will share the championship.
The Wolverines can also clinch Allegany County Division I with a win tonight over Genesee Valley.
Those Big 30 clubs that have already sewn up titles are the Allegany-Limestone (Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Division I) and Cattaraugus-Little Valley (Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Division II) boys and A-L (Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Division II), Ellicottville (Cattaraugus County Division III) and Whitesville (Allegany County Division II) girls.
ELLICOTTVILLE is so hot that it has finally knocked B-R from the top spot in the girls' poll. The Eagles (12-1-1) haven't lost since a 2-1 setback to Jamestown in the season opener.
Ellicottville, ranked No.1 among Class D teams in the state, has won mostly with defense. The Eagles recorded nine straight shutouts until Genesee Valley produced a goal Saturday.
And in its last eight games, Ellicottville has scored more than two goals just once, a 3-0 victory over Franklinville.
Is another state title for coach Mary Neilon and the Eagles coming?
"We don't look too far ahead," Neilon said after the GV win. "We just take the games as they come."
Also in the D rankings is Fillmore (12-2-1). A notable snub is Whitesville (14-1-1), which has won nine games in a row.
Portville's Kaylyn Button most notably. The senior is sizzling.
Button has skyrocketed to the top of the Big 30 goal-scoring list. She tallied seven goals this week and has at least a hat trick in each of the last five games.
The outburst has Button on pace to lead PCS in goals for the third time in her four-year varsity career.
Not coincidentally, Button's climb has coincided with the Panthers active seven-game winning streak.
On the boys' side, Ian Whipple's eight goals in three games this week helped Cattaraugus-Little Valley clinched a division title. The senior could break his own school record of 29 goals in a season.
And the boys' Big 30 leader, Scio's Josh Goodridge, netted seven of his team's 19 goals in two games this week.