Tigers roar past North Collins in Far West Regional, 7-1

Spectator Sports

EAST AMHERST — The 2019 Avoca Tigers have made it deeper than any other soccer team in school history, and on Friday night at Williamsville East High School, they added one final week to the season with a dominating 7-1 win over Section VI North Collins in the NYS Far West Regional.

“No soccer team from Avoca has ever made it this far. And right now its a welcome pressure to represent the community that has supported us so much. And our fanbase has been so great, so we just want to give something back to them,” said Avoca head coach Dennelle Strong. “Hopefully, that can be a championship.”

Delaney Stowe led the offensive charge with a hat trick, but the entire offensive unit was great all night long. The Tigers controlled the pace of play and possession for lengthy periods of time, and it led to goals from Selina Jud, Alexis Weldy, Stephanie Longwell and Bella Crane.

“They did work as a unit all season. Even if one had an off night — which their off nights are still pretty great — another one just stepped up. Delaney stepped up tonight,” said Stong. “I feel like we always have a different girl stepping up for different situations, and it’s awesome.”

Unlike the Section V Crossover game, the Tigers were clearly in control right from the start. Avoca quickly got the ball on its front foot, and rarely relented the advantage for the next 40 minutes of play.

As a result, it did not take long for the Tigers to light up the scoreboard, as Longwell got the first goal of the game in just the third minute of play. After a handball was called on the outside of the box, a ball was played into the middle of the field, where Longwell eventually got her foot on it and put one in the back of the net to make it 1-0.Six minutes later, Jud asserted her dominance in the middle of the field, as she grabbed possession of the ball through two defenders, eventually pushing a pass behind the defense to Stowe, who scored her first of the night on a breakaway.

The Tigers continued to dominate the game, and then added another two goals in four minutes of play at just around the halfway point of the half.First, in the 24th minute, Stowe took possession deep in the right corner. She faked a move to the top of the box, and then ran right down to the end line, where she put a perfect cross right down the line.

The Eagle defense had no choice but to attempt to stop it, which ended with the ball being redirected into the twine on an own-goal.Avoca made it 4-0 just three minutes later when Jud grabbed a ball in the middle of the field and then put a defender in a spin cycle to create a ton of space. Then from, 30 yards out, she launched a hard shot that was deflected past the keeper and into the back of the net.

North Collins lone goal of the evening came in the final minute of the half when Rebecca Holmes scored. It sparked some hope of a comeback for the Eagles, but Avoca came out in the second half and immediately ended those hopes.

In just the tenth minute, Jud put on another series of moves in the middle of the field before dropping a pass behind the defense to Stowe, who completed her hat trick with another hard shot that easily found the back of the net

.The Tigers made it 6-1 in the 24th minute thanks to an amazing individual effort from Weldy. The senior striker made a great move around a defender on the left sideline and then carried the ball deep into the offensive zone. She eventually walked the ball right into the box, firing off a hard shot from a tough angle that beat everyone and tickled the twine.The final goal of the evening came with just under ten minutes left, officially sealing the 7-1 win. Jud fired off a deep shot that banged off the left post, but the rebound bounced right to the foot of Isabella Crane, who easily put the ball into the wide open net.

Avoca (19-2-0) will now play Section 10’s Hammond Central, who defeated Section VII’s Chazy, in the first round of the final four next weekend. That game is set to kick off at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Homer High School.

“As Alexis Weldy was coming off the field tonight, she said, ‘coach what time is practice tomorrow?’” said Stong. “I mean, they don’t even want to take a day off! But this is wonderful. This last week is bittersweet, but I’m very glad to have one final week with them.”