Gift Of Gab
Iuculano Scores Twice As Bears Advance
FREWSBURG — Just over 10 minutes into Wednesday’s Section VI Class C girls soccer prequarterfinal between No. 13 Chautauqua Lake and No. 4 Frewsburg, an upset began to brew.
Taking a corner kick from the left side of the field, Calla Zarpentine struck a crossing ball right on to the edge of the near post that sneaked past the grip of Frewsburg goaltender Alyssa Lobb.
No one on the Frewsburg sideline was worried.
Despite the scare, the Bears (10-5) picked up a pair of unanswered goals off the foot of Gabby Iuculano on their way to a 2-1 win over the Thunderbirds (1-13) to earn a Friday date with No. 5 Silver Creek.
“Obviously not the way we wanted to start,” Frewsburg coach Scott Stone said of the first goal. “At that point we just wanted to slow the game down, play soccer and we knew our opportunities would come.”
Despite entering Wednesday’s game with just a win to its name, Chautauqua Lake spent much of the regular season playing Class B schools.
From the very first few minutes of play, it was clear that Frewsburg was not trying to move past a one-win team.
“We were excited to play them. We play up throughout our season so our record wasn’t what we would like it to be,” said Chautauqua Lake coach Danielle Jacobson. “We were super excited to come down here and play Frewsburg, a closer team to us. We know a lot of the players so it was really exciting to come here.”
Frewsburg’s offense began the day in typical fashion, as Iuculano was able to break free for back-to-back shots from the wing.
On its first offensive chance of the afternoon, Chautauqua Lake started a rush with Lauren Lindsey. The sophomore tried to feed a ball through to Kaitlyn Fardink, but Lobb was able to fend off that rush with a sliding pickup.
Moment’s after Fardink nearly broke through, the Thunderbirds made the most of their opportunity on Zarpentine’s corner for the first goal of the night.
Frustrated with that result, Frewsburg’s offense got right back to work as Kiara Marchincin struck an outside shot that was stopped on the near post by goaltender Hailey Roush.
With 7:30 remaining in the opening period Iuculano set herself up for a shot at the equalizer, breaking free of her defender for a one-on-one with Roush.
The Thunderbirds goalkeeper won that battle, deflecting a shot that took a bounce near the 6-yard box before being cleared away.
On the following possession Iuculano struck a try from long range, but the senior would have to wait until the clock showed 1:46 to bring her team back to even.
Picking off a short goal kick, Iuculano was able to set up for a shot near the center line for a top-shelf finish.
As important as that game-tying goal was, its arrival before the second half was just as important for the Bears.
“To get that goal and equalize it and know that we are right there in the game, it was huge to get that,” Stone said. “It gave us a little momentum and then obviously we capitalized in the second half too.”
Time continued to wind down for the hosts despite a bevy of chances to begin the final 40 minutes of play.
Nora Edwards struck a shot from the left side that trickled past the right post while Iuculano found herself with a chance to take the lead after a slick throw-in by Kaitlyn Morreale. That shot fell narrowly wide of the left post, while Chautauqua Lake found itself on danger again due to a defensive miscommunication with 15 minutes left to play.
After a pair of Thunderbirds’ defenders failed to pick up a loose ball, Marchincin was able to carry in for a shot all alone, but that ball was ripped right on Roush.
With the clock showing 13:55, Kendal Sohl began to push the Bears upfield once again, finding Iuculano open 30 yards out. After settling for outside shots much of the second half, the captain made no mistake this time, dribbling her way in close before burying a shot low to the left side.
Friday’s 3:30 p.m. matchup with Silver Creek will decide the winner of a 1-1 season series between the two teams.
“Right now, we are a young team, we’re going day-to-day,” Stone said. “We got that one behind us and now our focus is Friday. We’re not looking past it.”