FREWSBURG - After all the shots and scoring opportunities they had enjoyed over the first 80 minutes of play - each of them without success, however - the Frewsburg Bears began to wonder whether they'd ever solve Cattaraugus-Little Valley's freshman goaltender Megan Jones.
But in a game like soccer, where one bounce of the ball can change everything, perseverance is paramount.
"They were getting nervous," Frewsburg coach Ericka Alm admitted, "but our girls have perseverance, and they knew that they just had to keep pushing and eventually (the ball) would get in (the net). We knew it eventually had to go."
At left, Frewsburg’s Reyanne Strong keeps the ball from going out of bounds during Wednesday’s Division 2 soccer game against Cattaraugus-Little Valley. Below, the Bears’ Sam Mann controls the ball while the Lady Timberwolves’ Jenna Martin is in pursuit. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
by Rob Tucker
Eventually, it did.
Frewsburg tallied three goals in overtime to pick up the Division 2 victory, 3-0, over visiting Cattaraugus-Little Valley on Wednesday.
After 10 corner kicks, 13 shots that were off the mark and wide of the net and 13 more shots that Jones stopped, the ball finally took a fortunate bounce for the hosts with less than three minutes remaining in the first of two 10-minute overtime periods.
As Frewsburg's Abbey Jermaine carried the ball down the right sideline towards the corner, she fired a low cross into space in front of the net, and with only opponent Jenna Martin near the ball, it looked as though the pass would be cleared harmlessly out of danger. But as Martin swung her leg to boot the bouncing ball, it ricocheted off the side of her foot right to Maddie Whippo, who was standing in front of the Cattaraugus-Little Valley net.
Whippo made the most of the advantageous bounce and buried the shot into the net for the 1-0 lead.
With the first goal in the books and the Bears regaining confidence in their offensive abilities, the floodgates seemingly opened.
"That first ... one (was key)," Alm said before adding with a smile, "it just took us a long time to get it. We say that once you get that first, that's it. You've got to break them down with that first goal and then you can usually start piling on."
Sam Mann tallied the Bears' second goal six minutes later - early in the final overtime period - off a pass from Whippo and then it was Whippo again in on the action less than two minutes later when she took a shot from the left side that scooted along the goal line and hit the right post before teammate Nikki Webber gained control of the loose ball and scored.
Whippo, a sophomore, finished with a goal and a pair of assists.
"Maddie had quite the game," Alm said.
While Frewsburg's chances were numerous, the Lady Timberwolves played most of the game in their own end, the defense bending but never breaking - not until overtime, anyway.
Jones, busy from minute one to minute 100, was especially impressive.
"Their goalie was awesome," Alm said. "She just wasn't giving us anything to work with."
Cattaraugus-Little Valley, meanwhile, could muster just three shots over the course of the game and only once, with four minutes remaining in the first overtime period when Lori Pritchard got behind the Frewsburg defense and fired a shot just wide of the net, had a real chance at scoring.
All in all, it wasn't a bad way for the Bears to welcome Alm, who didn't coach last season due to pregnancy, back to the Frewsburg sidelines.
"It's as good as you can ask for," she said of the win, Frewsburg's first of the season. "We would have liked to have it come in the first 80 minutes, but we're happy with it."
Frewsburg will be back in action at 4:30 p.m., on Friday at Cassadaga Valley. The Lady Timberwolves, meanwhile, will host Salamanca.