2017 Season Preview: Sauquoit Valley Lady Indians Soccer
Head Coach: Tim Clive
Assistant Coaches: Devin Clive, John DelBuono
2016 Season Review: The Indians started out the 2016 campaign by edging eventual Class B state runner-up Westhill, 2-1, then pulled off a run of 4-1-1 before losing again to Little Falls at the end of September. The other loss in that run was to eventual Class D state runner-up Poland. They would avenge both losses as the calendar turned over, shutting out the Tornadoes at the end of September and beating the Mounties in a thriller to start the month of October. Those two wins would help the Indians finish the season on a seven-game win streak heading into the sectional playoffs, earning the third seed. They ran roughshod over Onondaga in their first round game, racking up nine goals in ten shots in a shutout. However, they would be shut out themselves by upstart 11-seed Dolgeville in the second round, 1-0.
2017 Outlook: When asked about how he felt about the 2017 season, head coach Tim Clive summed up his feelings in just three words.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Clive said of his team.
Clive really doesn’t have a reason to be overly cautious, as he returns a very big part of his team from 2016. However, his optimism was well placed and it showed in the Indians’ preseason scrimmages, both against schools that were way above them in school / class size.
“We scrimmaged Westhill [a Class B school] and played them tough, we played New Hartford [a Class A school] tough,” Clive said. “Those games prepared us…now we know we can play with the big schools.”
Despite his cautiousness, Clive remained confident that his team could continue to be as dominant as they have been in recent years.
“We have a bucket list: win our league, win the section, go to regionals and win our region, and win states,” Clive said. “They have their hearts set on Cortland…They love it.
Returning Starters: The Indians have the good fortune of losing only one starter to graduation. That gives the Indians a formidable core of 12 returning starters.
All-State forward Adrianna Grande returns for her junior season as one of the captains of the team. Joining her is a very young team, made up of only seven seniors. Bolstering the Indians’ defense will be all-state junior goaltender Allison Moreau, who only allowed five goals in 2016 and looks to be a key factor in Sauquoit Valley’s quest to reclaim their sectional crown.
“I feel I have one of the best goaltenders in the state,” Clive said of Moreau.
Keeping the midfield in check will be senior Raquel Burton, who Clive hopes will use her speed to keep opposing attackers at bay. “Boy, can she run when she gets on the field,” Clive said. Burton will be helped along on defense by two seniors: co-captain Paige Harris and Rachel Madden.
Newcomers to Watch: While a big chunk of the Sauquoit Valley roster will be stepping back on the turf field, there are still a couple of players to watch. Sophomore Kiara Brodock will step into a key defensive position.
“She [Brodock] is quicker than a bullet,” Clive said. “She’s my stopper this season.”
Makenna Sheppard also takes her first steps onto the field for the Indians this season, in her junior year at Sauquoit Valley. Clive admitted that she may not be as far along as the rest of his team, he still believes that Sheppard will contribute this season.
“She’s learning, but she’s happy to be here,” Clive said.
Since Sauquoit Valley installed their turf field in 2008, the home field advantage has been very kind to the Indians. Since 2008, the Indians are 88-2-2 in the league (amassing seven undefeated runs in the league) and 160-20-5 overall. On top of that, Sauquoit Valley has outscored their opponents 576-104 in that same time span. It’s also helped Clive that the girls’ soccer team has been one of the most successful sports in the school.
“You build it year by year,” Clive said. “It’s a tradition; girls want to come and play for this team.”
It’s certainly paid off for the Indians, as since 2008, they’ve won nine straight league titles and look to be a favorite for their tenth straight.
Defense Wins Championships: As it has always been in Sauquoit Valley, Clive and the Indians pride themselves on their defensive prowess, and this year is no different. Moreau is back in goal, and on top of that, two out of their three players on the defensive line are returning seniors. Senior Sidney Talma will also be called upon to spell Moreau in goal. However, in the Mohawk Valley, the phrase “defense wins championships” could be said to be coined by Coach Clive.
“I start my team from my defense to the front line,” Clive said. “Defense creates offense…the girls buy into it too.”
If last year is any indication – giving up only five goals and playing in nine one-goal games – the defense should be a big factor in Sauquoit Valley’s return to SUNY Cortland.
Game Faces: With a very large core that has already seen the fields at Cortland, the Indians fully represent the adage of “act like you’ve been there.” That returning core provides a chemistry not usually seen at other schools.
“The chemistry, their game savvy, their leadership…it’s incredible,” Clive said. “Once you get the smell of the hot dogs and popcorn at Cortland, you want to go back. These girls want to go back, and they can get back there. These girls have what it takes to what they have to do.” (Editor’s Note….The popcorn and hot dogs at the Sauquoit Valley Boosters Concession are absolutely outstanding as well).
With a core of seven seniors, and Moreau, Grande and Harris wearing the captains’ armbands for Sauquoit Valley, the leadership is certainly there. As most coaches will tell you, a strong leader will always make your team better, and with this core, the sky is the limit.
Possible Weakness: When asked about possible challenges to the season, while Clive has built a formidable defense, he did admit that scoring might be a problem for the Indians.
“It always is a challenge, but its going to be better this year,” Clive said of his team’s ability to put the ball in the net. Most games won by the Indians last year were one-goal affairs in favor of Sauquoit Valley. With Grande attacking opposing nets and fellow juniors Sydney Gifford and Alexandra Price supporting her this year, that weakness might turn into a strength for the Indians.
Sectional Titles: Five (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015). Since 2009, except for one year, one of two teams has won the Section III Class C title: the Indians or Little Falls. The only exception to this rule: Tully, in 2011. (Sauquoit Valley lost to Bishop Ludden in the quarterfinals, while the Mounties did not qualify.)
Last Sectional Title: 2015. Sauquoit Valley shut out all four of their opponents en route to their last Section III title, shutting out Fabius-Pompey, Onondaga, Beaver River and Watertown-Immaculate Heart by a combined 16-0. Adrianna Grande, Rachel Burton and Elma Sarajlija all scored goals in the 3-0 shutout of the Cavaliers and finish an undefeated season in the Section. Their first loss would come in the very next game, however, giving up a goal in each half to Elmira-Notre Dame in a 2-0 decision.
September 7: @ Little Falls
September 9-10: Hall of Fame Kickoff Tournament @ Sauquoit Valley (Sauquoit, Tully, Lake George and Groton participating)
September 13: vs. Mount Markham
September 15: vs. Waterville
September 19: @ Morrisville-Eaton
September 21: @ Westmoreland
September 23: vs. Little Falls
September 25: vs. Cooperstown
September 29: @ Mount Markham
October 3: @ Waterville
October 5: vs. Morrisville-Eaton
October 7: @ Cazenovia
October 10: vs. Westmoreland
October 12: @ Cooperstown