Sauquoit – Sauquoit Valley’s girls soccer team figured to beat Onondaga in Thursday’s Class C playoff opener and did. Coach Tim Clive’s team is, after all, the defending champ and entered the match 13-2-1, with All-State forward Adrianna Grande to lead a balanced offense.
Grande did her usual great job up front, scoring once and assisting twice in the first 22 minutes of play. What Sauquoit Valley didn’t expect, perhaps, was contributions from others like Paige Harris. The junior scored the first goal of her career to help the hosts go up 2-0.
“I was very surprised,” Harris said after her goal helped the team post a 9-0 victory. “I didn’t even know it was mine at first.”
Brianna Mumpton opened the scoring in the seventh minute. She took a pass from Grande and easily beat Tigers goalie Jessika Southard from close range. Onondaga came close to tying the game in the next minute as Becky Mack had a hard shot from 15 yards. Allison Moreau made the save for the hosts then the game’s momentum shifted when Harris scored on a corner kick.
Her kick came into the box very high and Southard leaped to slap it over. Instead it went in. So instead of being down one or tied if Mack’s shot went in, Onondaga was down 2-0.
“I think that (goal) made us turn our focus to defense,” said first-year Tigers head coach Alexandra Nordman. “We just didn’t have the numbers up top to break through.”
Sydney Gifford broke through and scored Sauquoit Valley’s third goal and Grande assisted on it. It came in the 19th minute and was a nice shot off a quick turn in the middle. Grande had the fourth goal of the half in the 22nd minute. It came off a pass from Kristen Purcell and she hit a hard one-touch shot past Southard.
Clive substituted liberally the rest of the half but the reserves kept the pressure on and the Tigers were not able to get another shot on goal. Purcell missed on a hard shot early in the second half and Southard made a superb save on a shot in the 48th minute to keep it a 4-0 game. Sweeper Neo Nyoni saved a goal when she deflected a shot by Mumpton in the 53rd minute, but the Tigers finally yielded a minute later. Purcell scored off a nice pass to make it 5-0.
Onondaga played tougher for the next 17 minutes and the hosts were kept at bay. Lauryn Johns scored on a very hard shot off an assist from Gifford in the 71st minute to get Sauquoit Valley’s offense back on track and Grande scored 33 seconds later off a pass from Harris. Taylor Hajdasz and Johns scored the final goals in the waning minutes and Kiara Brodock had an assist. Like one Julia Prichard had earlier in the match, it was the kind of balance the hosts will need to have a chance of repeating as Section III Class C champs.
“I had a feeling we’d play really good,” Grande said. “It was all teamwork.”
“We’re maturing,” Clive said as the victory vaulted Sauquoit Valley into a 5 p.m. quarterfinal home match against Dolgeville or Bishop Ludden. “We had good ball control. That’s what I’ve been preaching.”
Moreau finished with two saves for the shutout. Southard and Paige Miller teamed for six saves for the Tigers (7-9).
Onondaga (7-9): Saves – Jessika Southard 5. Paige Miller 1.
Sauquoit Valley (14-2-1): Adrianna Grande 2-3, Brianna Mumpton 1-0, Paige Harris 1-1, Sydney Gifford 1-1, Kristen Purcell 1-1. Lauryn Johns 2-0, Julia Prichard 0-1, Taylor Hajdasz 1-0, Kiara Brodock 0-1. Saves – Allison Moreau 2.