SAUQUOIT, NY– The stands were about as packed as expected for a Thursday night, as those in attendance in Sauquoit watched their boys’ soccer team knock off Little Falls, 3-0. However, that was just the undercard in Sauquoit. The main event was the girls, two heavyweights in Section III soccer that had, combined, allowed only nine goals all season and two losses.
Unlike so many heavyweight fights in the past, this one did not disappoint.
Sauquoit Valley came back from a goal down at halftime and leaned on leading scorer Adrianna Grande to take them home as the Indians knocked off previously unbeaten Little Falls, 2-1.
For the Sauquoit sophomore, it was the culmination of a hard week of practice. “Little Falls is a great team…we wanted to beat them,” Grande said. “ We worked hard all week and now we got it.”
From the opening kickoff, however, it seemed that Little Falls, ranked number three in the state going into Thursday’s game, would be the more aggressive team. Starting off with a long run by sophomore Nicole Failing, the Mounties quickly applied the pressure to the Indians, getting to goaltender Allison Moreau several times, but not quite getting the breakthrough they needed. The Mounties would keep that pressure on for most of the first half, keeping goaltender Kylie Miles safe for most of the first half.
Then, as the first half neared the halfway mark, the momentum seemed to swing toward the Indians. They began to challenge Miles more and more nearing the end of the half, with decently placed shots that kept the sophomore goalkeeper on her toes for most of the rest of the half. However, none of those shots would find the back of the net. From there, the ball seemed to bounce from end to end, with neither team seeming to gain an advantage as the time ticked down.
The breakthrough for the Mounties, however, would come very late in the first half. With three and a half minutes remaining, the other Miles, senior forward Caira, would take a long corner kick and put it right in the center of the goalmouth to put Little Falls up 1-0 just before the halftime whistle.
It wouldn’t take long after the second half kickoff for Sauquoit Valley to equalize. Just a minute and a half into the second half, sophomore Alexandra Price would take a pass from classmate Sydney Gifford and plant it into the back of the net to even the score at one.
For Little Falls head coach Sal Marchese, that goal by Price turned the game around in the Indians’ favor.
“They scored early [in the second half]…that was the turning point,” Marchese said.
After that, the haymakers would begin to fly on both sides of the field.
For the rest of the half, both teams would have stellar opportunities. They would find the ball right in front of the goal, but would not be able to take advantage as the opposing team’s defense would sweep it away before anything could be made of it.
For Sauquoit Valley head coach Tim Clive, those 40 minutes of the second half were some of the best he had ever seen in his career with the Indians. “This was a good game,” Clive said. “This is great for [Class] C ball. The girls really wanted it tonight.”
Finally, the knockout punch was delivered by Sauquoit Valley’s leading scorer. Grande took another pass from Gifford with 16 minutes left and slipped it past Miles to give her Indians the 2-1 lead, much to the delight of her teammates.
“Our intensity skyrocketed after that goal,” Grande said, whose goal helped Sauquoit Valley avenge a 1-0 loss to the Mounties (12-1-1, 6-0-1 CSC-II) back in September at Herkimer College. “We played much harder after that.”
For Clive, Grande’s goal was the moment he knew the game was theirs.
“That was a sweet goal,” Clive said. “When you looked at their body language, we knew we had it. It was a great game, we avenged that loss…just deja vu tonight.”
Marchese, while disappointed by the loss, was quick to place praise where it was due: on the Sauquoit (9-2-1, 4-0-1 CSC-III) girls. “That’s a tough team…Sauquoit’s a tough team,” Marchese said. “There were some questionable offside calls, but that last line, we just couldn’t break through.”
Little Falls has already won the Center State Conference Division II crown for the second straight season. They look to improve their standing in the Section III playoffs when they head to Cooperstown on Monday. Sauquoit will be playing their fourth game this week on Friday, as they head to Oneonta to face the Yellow Jackets. While this game has no bearing on league standings, the Indians will need it to stay in the race for the Center State Conference Division III crown.
However, in this heavyweight fight between Center State Conference powers, the belt, at least for tonight, stays in Sauquoit Valley.
Sauquoit Valley Indians 2, Little Falls Mounties 1
Sauquoit Valley 0 2 2
Little Falls 1 0 1
LF- Caira Miles, 3:27
SV- Alexandra Price, 38:33
SV- Adrianna Grande, 16:01