Zastawrny buries direct kick for 1-0 win

WELLSVILLE — No. 9 Wayland-Cohocton and No. 8 Wellsville traded shots at the goal all night Tuesday in the opening round of the Section V, Class B2 playoffs, with the momentum swinging back and forth but the scoreboard remaining still.

Scoreless through 80 minutes, the Eagles and the Lions went to overtime to decide a winner … or face a shootout to determine who would advance to face Avon on Friday.

Julia Zastawrny made sure to end it before PKs, lining up a direct kick dead center on the goal at the 15-yard-line of the football field, burying the shot into the left corner for the 1-0 road victory.

“She’s been a workhorse for us all year long. When we’ve needed her she’s stepped up and taken the team on her shoulders,” said Wayland-Cohocton head coach Eileen Feinman.

The direct kick was set up by collision moments before as Way-Co’s Autumn Bell and Wellsville goalie Regan Marsh crashed into each other going for the ball. Bell had to be helped off the field after the big collision, but Zastawrny made it count for the Eagles on the ensuing direct kick with 6:26 left in the first OT. 

“It was an outstanding game. We had a lot of opportunities, we just had to capitalize,” said Wellsville coach Erica Aftuck. “At the same time, what a game. To be a fan here, this is what soccer is about. It was even in the middle of the field. Both of us had chances. Regan took a chance and I told her not to hold her head down. She had to come out on that play because what is she going to do, let her shoot it? Then it would have been a goal anyway. It’s a hard call to make, they’re both going for the ball. It’s a judgement call.”

Wellsville was knocking on the door for much of the night, with a number of close calls at the goal. Emily Costello very nearly ended it in the final seconds of regulation, pressuring the goal as time ticked off the clock, but Way-Co goalie Mackenzie Pickard and the Way-Co defense foiled the opportunity literally at the last second.

“I thought we were going to have a goal in the last few seconds,” Aftuck said. “I said this is it, we’re putting the ball in but then the whistle went off.”

Wellsville also came out firing in the second overtime period with several cracks at the goal, including one shot that hit the crossbar after a corner kick.

“You come to Wellsville and they’re always a competitive team and you can never take anything for granted when you come here,” Feinman said. “We came in and they were on a good streak. Fortunately we came out on the other end, but it certainly could have been the other way, for sure.”

Packard made 12 saves for the Eagles (8-8-1), who now visit Avon Friday at 6 p.m. in the next round. Way-Co dropped 4-0 and 2-1 contests to the Braves in the regular season.

“Our first game we did not perform well. The second time we played them, we came to play,” Feinman said. “Our girls can compete with anybody, it just depends on who decides to show up that day. We’re hoping to make a nice run.”

Wellsville, meanwhile, wraps up the year 9-7-1, the program’s first winning record in recent memory. The Lions lose Marsh, Emily Cline, Kayla Day, Sarah Carlton, Sophie Majewski, Taylor Payne and Milla Littzburg to graduation.

I’m just proud of this whole team. The chemistry all year has been outstanding,” Aftuck said. “When they’re on, they’re on. Our whole philosophy is moving the ball and every year we get better and better. We’re building a program in Wellsville. It starts with the youth and we’re on our way up. Those senior girls, we’re going to miss them. They’re the girls that bought into this passing game. We changed the whole way that we play and they bought in. They make my job way easier. I would like to give all the seniors a shoutout. They start every game, they play almost the entire game, they never come out.”

The Lions will now head into the offseason looking to build on this year’s turnaround.

“The underclassmen hold their own, and the JV really picked it up this year at the end of the season,” Aftuck said. “The modified did awesome. We have a lot to build on from this season. The future looks great and bright for Wellsville soccer.”