COHOCTON — After two days of drama and uncertainty, the second verse was the same as the first.
North Rose-Wolcott won its protest, but Wayland-Cohocton denied the Cougars a berth in the Section V, Class B quarterfinals for a second time Thursday night at the Ellsworth “Ozzie” Trip Sports Complex.
Section V upheld the protest of the No. 12-seeded Cougars following Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to No. 5 Way-Co. The controversy stemmed from the officials allowing Way-Co to continue the game with 11 players on the field after Hannah McKelvey picked up her second yellow card near the midway point of the second half.
The game resumed with 19:13 left in regulation and Way-Co, now playing 11 on 10, nursing a 4-2 lead.
The score remained the same the rest of the way to send the Eagles into the quarterfinals, a matchup with Hornell that Way-Co head coach Terry Brown believes should have been the Eagles’ focus all along Thursday night.
“I think it’s a shame that we lost a practice day for this,” Brown said. “I still believe this should not have been played. It’s very clear in the Section V handbook that if you want to protest something you have to do it at the point of the infraction. That wasn’t done until after the game, and why the Section V Committee decided that is beyond me.
“I have no clue on what their rationale was for making us play today. It was not right, and I’ll say that we should not have played until the cows come home.”
North Rose-Wolcott head coach Amy Bromley said that she did attempt to protest during Tuesday’s contest, but her plea was not heeded.
“I tried to. I was ignored,” Bromley recalled. “That was basically the problem. I wasn’t going to run out on the field and tackle the official. We felt the game wasn’t true to fair game play, so we just wanted another chance to come down with whatever time was left, to see if we could redeem ourselves a little bit for the unfairness that we felt.
“That’s why I protested it. It was for the kids. It was to show the kids that you can do something about it, you can get yourself another chance if some things were done not quite so right.”
Way-Co athletic director Jim Brownell told The Tribune earlier Thursday that “one official said the North Rose coach asked to protest and was told no, that they could not. That’s where the gray area comes at this point. The other official on the field claims that they were never asked about the protest.”
Page 2 of 3 - No matter what unfolded Tuesday, the Eagles left no doubt about Thursday’s outcome despite missing a player. Way-Co controlled the majority of the play over the final — official — 19:13, grabbing an 8-2 advantage in shots.
Jessie Hammers lost two goals due to the protest, but she nearly got one back with 8:45 left in the game. Erin Ferrente made a nice save on the rocket to prevent Way-Co from tacking on a statement score.
“We were hoping to score a couple goals with 10 players, but we just wanted to get out of here unscathed,” Brown said. “I had three starters that I didn’t play because they were hurt. (North Rose-Wolcott) is a terribly physical team. When you get out-finessed, you tend to be more physical because that’s what you have to revert to.
“I’ll bet in that short period of time there was 10 calls against them. That’s the type of play you get up in Wayne County. A typical Livingston County game is not very physical. It really isn’t. It’s more finesse than anything. I think that’s the way soccer should be played.”
North Rose-Wolcott’s best chance at cutting into the lead came at the 15:14 mark. Courtney Cole got into the clear for a clean look, but the shot went wide. The Cougars finish the year 4-11-2 overall.
“We’ve had a really good team here with a lot of really good sportsmanship,” Bromley said. “That is one thing that as coaches and as a school we strive to teach the kids. Academics, sports, no matter what they’re doing, to do the best they can and to try to be as fair as they can.”
Way-Co (10-5-2) can now turn all of its attention to Hornell, the No. 4 seed. The protest pushed the quarterfinal contest from Friday to Saturday. The game will likely start at 5 p.m. in a doubleheader at Maple City Park, with the Hornell boys hosting Wellsville in the nightcap.
The Livingston County Division I foes split the regular season series, with each team winning on its home field. Hornell captured a 4-1 victory in the last meeting exactly two weeks from Saturday.
“We have to do something different,” Brown said. “It’s a whole new mentality. I’m old school. I don’t like to play on turf. I think soccer was meant to be played on natural grass. Hopefully we can make some adjustments and play a little better than we did when we played in Hornell.
Page 3 of 3 - “We need to contain some of their big guns. If we don’t it’s going to be a long night. If we’re able to do that we might have a chance.”