WELLSVILLE – Fresh off what was an absolute stinger in their season opener against Mount Morris, Wellsville looked to right the wrongs, and steer the ship into the win column after the Labor Day weekend on Tuesday.
With Dansville in town on a hot and humid day, the possibility was in the air. But something else was also in the night sky surrounding the Wellsville Athletics Complex – heat lightning.
After a flash of it in the distance, the decision was made that the game would end after it was previously delayed with 6:39 left to play, with Wellsville and Dansville earning their first respective tie of the season, settling with a 1-1 draw.
“It’s unfortunate that we had to end the game like this,” Wellsville coach Dana Hand said. “We were just getting our legs underneath us, and we had to figure out some things. Our offense was a little off, having the holiday weekend just passed. We had a full complement of guys tonight, but I think the weekend may have had something to do with it.”
The first half presented numerous opportunities for both teams to reach the board. Both goals were netted in the first 40 minutes of play, with Wellsville (0-1-1) getting off to a brilliant start to their game. How brilliant? One minute in brilliant.
With 1:15 removed from the clock, the Lions were presented with an indirect kick nearly 30 yards outside the Dansville box. With a nice loft off the foot of Skyler Cline, Alex Ordway was able to trap it toward Brendan Wesche’s direction to put away the game’s first goal.
“I tell them every time to get a quick one, and 1:15 in, they did it,” said Hand. “We put one in, and I thought this would be a great game. I thought we might be able to play some players that haven’t really played a lot, but it is what it is. They came to play.”
Many more glances inside the offensive zones would be exchanged between both teams, but Dansville had most of them, especially after the contest’s first water break. Those looks came mainly from their speedy senior Stefen Entwistle.
With not much time removed from the break, Entwistle would make his way downfield, breaking away from the Wellsville defense to capitalize on a feed from Calib Wolf, burying the chance short side past a diving Gage Caldwell in the Wellsville cage to make it a 1-1 tie entering the half.
“Stefen is fast, and on turf, he’s even faster,” said Dansville coach Steve French. “We had a couple of super good chances to put the ball away, and he himself had a couple, especially on the breakaway. We definitely controlled it in their half quite a bit. They have a quick counter attack as well, they have guys that go wide that quickly come in to help out.”
In the second half, it was the same story.
The battle was officially on for the next 40 minutes of play, with Wellsville finding its share of chances early on. The biggest coming from a Skyler Cline backdoor pass to Alex Ordway to the right of the Dansville cage. The shot had the velocity, but skittered wide and out to force a goal kick for the Mustangs.
As for the Mustangs, Entwistle continued to work and dig free of the Lions defense. He did on back-to-back occasions past the midway mark of the second half, setting up shop for two breakaway opportunities on the Wellsville cage. On the latter chance, the ball nearly found top shelf above Caldwell, but the Wellsville netminder leapt up to knock it away.
Both coaches agreed that the second half was one grueling battle.
“We had a call in the box that I saw from afar, I thought it was in there, but it was just outside of it,” said Hand. “We have to talk about our corner kicks. We had a couple go through, and nobody touched the ball. We have to talk about that and work on some other things.”
French added on the second half, “It was a battle, and it really came down to who wanted it more, and how good of shape everyone is in. It was going one way, then the other way. We had six minutes left to play, but with my guess, we would be playing some more soccer."
With the ongoing battle managing to reach its boiling point, a flash of heat lightning went off in the air behind the east end zone cage, forcing the officials to put the game under delay. After a few more flashes of lightning, the game was officially called with under seven minutes to play in regulation.
When it was all said and done, Caldwell recorded two saves. Dansville keeper Nick Camuto made one save in his goal.
Both teams are right back at it on Thursday, as Wellsville welcomes in Allegany-Limestone to close out their three game homestand, while the Mustangs return home to welcome in Class B powerhouse Livonia.
Wellsville will also hold a can drive beginning this weekend from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday. All proceeds will go toward the soccer programs. If you are interested in donating, contact Hand at 585-610-6133.