COHOCTON — Wellsville and Wayland-Cohocton haven’t been able to avoid each other of late.
After playing twice in the regular season, including a 1-1 tie on Wellsville’s home turf, the programs met once again Saturday night at the Cohocton Sports Complex, squaring off in the first round of the Section V, Class B2 playoffs for the second straight year.
Saturday night’s rematch was a classic tight 4 vs. 5 matchup. No. 5 Wellsville struck first just 21 seconds into the game, but No. 4 Wayland-Cohocton kept its composure and put together three unanswered goals, advancing to the semifinals with a 3-1 win over the Lions.
“We talked all week in practice about it being a battle, and that’s what we got,” said Wellsville head coach Matt Johengen. “They were able to control the ball a little bit more, but we were right there. Their second goal in the second half came on a long direct kick from Kalum Holbrook. Gage (Caldwell) kind of slipped in the mud and just couldn’t quite get to it, but credit to Holbrook, he put it on net.
“We were not without our chances. We just came up short on two or three real big opportunities in the first 10 minutes. We needed to capitalize there.”
The Lions quickly got on the board before the game was 30 seconds old. Pacey Scott was credited with creating the goal on a scrum in front of the Way-Co net, with fellow senior David Graham earning the assist.
The Lions kept up the pressure and had a few chances at another goal, but the Way-Co defense tightened up. The Golden Eagles turned the tide and netted the equalizer when Colton Moir put in a corner kick with about 25 minutes left in the first half.
It was still a 1-1 game at the break, but Way-Co took command in the second half thanks to Holbrook. The senior netted the game-winner seven minutes into the second half, and seven minutes after that he stuck again on a long direct kick.
Jeff Fox had six saves for the Eagles (10-4-3), who advance to face No. 1 Bath-Haverling in the semis. The Rams and Eagles split in the regular season, with each team winning on the road by one goal.
Caldwell had 11 saves for Wellsville as the Eagles had a 22-11 edge in shots.
Wellsville wraps up a turnaround season 10-5-2. The Lions graduate a talented group of seniors in Scott, Graham, Jacob Bierman, Aidan Brown, Colby Griffiths, Richard Murphy, Keegan O’Grady, Tyler Watson and Sean Whitehouse.
“I’m definitely proud of these guys,” Johengen said. “I’ve said it before, but they worked tirelessly in the offseason. It definitely paid dividends for us this year. I’m proud of our seniors and the effort we put forward. It was a great group to coach.”