On to the next round
SILVER CREEK – The memorable season isn’t over quite yet for the No. 8 Silver Creek-Forestville Black Knights.
After coming up just short of a divisional crown, the Black Knights had a first in school history Wednesday as they hosted a Sectional playoff game.
And Jade Lewis made sure it wasn’t going to be the team’s last home game as her direct kick in the 27th minute secured a 1-0 victory over No. 9 Chautauqua Lake in the first round of the Class C girls high school soccer playoffs.
“That’s not your run of the mill 4-10-1 team,” Silver Creek-Forestville coach Kevin Rice said of Chautauqua Lake and their overall season record. “They’re a lot better than their record, and in all honesty, they played a tougher season schedule. They played Maple Grove, Frewsburg and Southwestern twice. It gets you ready.
“I’m not taking anything away from us,” Rice continued. “We were certainly ready. The comforts of home helped.”
A big comfort of home for Silver Creek-Forestville was the size of its field as it is wider than most fields Chautauqua Lake has played on this season, according to Rice.
With that in mind, the Black Knights tried their best to keep the ball away from the middle of the field and wear down the Lady Thunderbirds.
“There were times where they started to get a bit tired,” Rice said of Chautauqua Lake. “It was a matter of time. We had a little better play in the second half. It was a great game. Chautauqua Lake’s strength is right up the middle. If you take away their middle and play it outside, you should put yourself in a position to beat them.”
Chautauqua Lake had other plans as it came out in the second half and controlled the tempo of the game for the opening 10 minutes of the half.
“It was real good to weather that storm,” Rice said. “I was a bit disappointed. We can’t go out in the second half flat. We needed to press our will and play our game and we didn’t. We weathered it. At that point, we felt that was going to be their best punch and we took it.”
A key reason for that was the play of midfielders Lewis and Shelby Harford along with sweepers Marissa Carline and Marissa Restivo.
“They did a good job of being able to keep it in our defensive zone,” Chautauqua Lake coach Ryan Smith said. “We had a couple chances in the second half and just couldn’t pick the corners. We hit it right at their goalie a couple times. It was a close one. The whole game was actually a good, close game. It was a good defensive battle. It was back and forth for both teams.”
Jamie Hehir was the winning goalie with five saves while Rachel Fortney was the tough-luck losing goalie.
“She has been stellar all year,” Smith said of Fortney. “She is only in 10th grade, and in my opinion, she is extremely technical and will be an amazing goaltender in the future. She is one of the hardest workers on my team. I can’t say enough about her.”
The Lady Thunderbirds will look to have a strong season next year as they return the entire team.
“It was a great season,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to next year. We have no seniors, so we should have a good season next year.”
As for Silver Creek, it will celebrate the win and get ready to play No. 1 Olmsted on Friday.
“This team believes we are not done,” Rice said. “Our goal is to make it to the semifinals. If you make it that far this late in the season, anything can really happen. I want to let them celebrate. (Today’s) practice, we will talk about things we need to do better. This time of season there are fewer opportunities. You have to make sure you make them count.”