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10 days, 5 wins for HHS

Hornell ends strong week with win over Dansville

By Sean Curran
The Spectator
Hornell's Ireland Harrison (15) battles for possession with Dansville's Summer Foster (1) on Saturday morning in Dansville.

DANSVILLE — Hornell scored an early goal on Saturday morning and then held off a dangerous Dansville offense for 80 full minutes of soccer as the Lady Raiders picked up a tough 1-0 road win over the Lady Mustangs in Dansville.

The win was Hornell’s fifth in a just a ten-day span, all coming against some of the best teams that the LCAA has to offer. But despite the brutal schedule, the Lady Raiders are still finding ways to stay fresh and focused at the end of games.

“It’s been rough. We aren’t going to complain for a second because at least we get to play, but right now you can’t practice because it’s all about maintenance. It’s about keeping people healthy and staying loose,” said HHS coach Mike Wilkinson. “It shows a lot about the character and intelligence of these kids that a lot of what we get done during practice is just talking through things, and they are able to take it all in and produce.”

The offensive aggressiveness that has been on display all week for the Lady Raiders was once again a big factor in the opening minutes of play. Hornell dominated the early time of possession, and quickly began firing off some great shots on net.

It didn’t take long before the Red Raiders got one of those chances through as they got on the scoreboard in just the 12th minute of play. A clearing attempt by the Mustangs went right back to Hornell, and the ball was quickly pushed to the right side of the field for Ayla Prior. The junior carried the ball all the way down to the end line, and then placed an absolutely gorgeous cross through the box that floated over the top of the Dansville keeper. On the other side, Tayghan Doorley fought through a pair of Dansville defenders and got the definitive touch on the ball that pushed it across the goal line and into the net to give HHS the early 1-0 lead.

“Ayla is a competitor who works year-round. For her to be out there and to find a comfort level and perform the way she is right now — it’s going to help us tremendously,” said Wilkinson.

Dansville, however, was not about to let the Red Raiders just run away with the win. Following the early goal, the Lady Mustangs offense started to show its own level of aggressiveness in making and taking chances.

For the final 20 minutes of the first half, the game was about as close as it could be as each team battled hard to find any sort of advantage. And while each team had a few chances, nobody found the back of the net, and the game went into halftime with Hornell maintaining the narrow 1-0 lead.

Hornell's Sophie Wilkins (14) looks to push the ball further down the field as Dansville's Summer Foster (1) defends.

That play carried into the second half as Dansville continued to play an aggressive style in the hopes of finding the equalizer. And while Hornell was no longer dominating the time of possession, it was still finding plenty of counter-attack opportunities in order to continue firing shots on net.

Both teams had some quality chances stymied by great defenses, and some certain goals were turned away at the last second by a pair of great goalkeeper performances. As a result, the game stayed at 1-0 all the way into the final ten minutes of play.

In those final 10 minutes, Dansville began to move its back line up and played an overtly aggressive style of offense in the hopes of tying the game. The Mustangs dominated the time of possession in the final minutes, but simply could not find any holes in the Hornell defense or midfield, which Wilkinson credited for the big defensive game on Saturday.

“The back four was fantastic again tonight, but I think a lot of the frustration for Dansville tonight came from our midfield. I thought our midfield was phenomenal today and I’d say it was their best game of the year. Our shape was great all day, and we tried to take away the things that Dansville does very, very well. For a lot of the game today, we were able to do that,” said Wilkinson.

Hornell moves to 5-1-1 on the season and gets no break before a tough game on Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. when rival Livonia comes to town. Dansville (2-4-1) now hits the road on Monday evening for a 6:30 p.m. contest in LeRoy.

Hornell's Jaden Sciotti (2) assesses her offensive options as she moves down the field during Saturday's contest in Dansville.