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Ellicottville Boys Beat North Collins For Class D Title

The Ellicottville boys soccer team gathers after winning the Section VI Class D title. P-J photo by Christian Storms

EDEN — Giving it all for the team.

Just 10 minutes into the second half, No. 1 Ellicottville goalie Evan Bauer was on the line to attempt to make his biggest save of the season in the Section VI Class D championship Saturday against No. 2 North Collins.

North Collins’ Derek Ebersole stepped up to the ball on the penalty marker and put everything he had behind a shot. Bauer lunged toward the shot to punch the ball away and after his forward momentum took him to the ball, Bauer dove toward and collected the rebound to maintain Ellicottville’s 1-0 lead.

Bauer’s save kept the lead that his team would not relinquish as it managed to stave off the North Collins comeback to win the Class D title, 2-1.

“He played amazing, he was everywhere,” Ellicottville head coach Matt Finn said of Bauer’s performance. “He made some incredible saves in the first half, that penalty kick was huge in the second. Unfortunately, he may have broken his hand on that PK, but we’ll see next week.”

Still trailing and needing an equalizer, the North Collins offense continued to press more and more with time winding down on its season. With 16 minutes left in the game, Ellicottville dealt the final blow on the counterattack on a goal from Sam Edwards, increasing the lead to 2-0.

“We isolated Sam a little bit,” North Collins head coach Jay Walters said about the defensive game plan. “We knew that Sam was their playmaker, so we keyed on him to limit what he could do and he did it anyways.”

With the two-goal cushion, Ellicottville did its best to keep the ball away from its keeper, but a miscue with just under 10 minutes left gave North Collins hope. On a routine lob pass behind the defense, Bauer and his defense were unable to communicate on who would get the ball. In that moment of hesitation, Ebersole was able to get the loose ball and stash it into the empty net.

North Collins brought everything they had toward the Ellicottville goal but was unable to get one past Bauer.

“I’m really proud of the team,” Walters said. “The last 20 minutes we played strong, we challenged, we pressed — and what a goalie Ellicottville has. We put some shots on him, that other goalies, they would have gone in.”

Outside of the one miscommunication, Bauer and his defense were able to stymie the North Collins attack all game. Bauer made 11 saves in the effort.

Ellicottville’s first goal came on the counterattack, similar to North Collins’ score in the second half, a miscommunication was the culprit. Caedon Wyatt poked the ball past North Collins keeper Daniel Downes to a wide open Aidan Privitera scoring the first goal.

“With Caedon Wyatt and Sam Edwards we were hoping we could take our speed against the defense to try and get past them for a goal,” Finn said about the impact of his forward’s speed.

In the first half, Ellicottville generated most of its opportunity on the counterattack with plenty of strong runs and chances by Wyatt. Downes made several big saves, matching Bauer, to help keep North Collins in the match. Downes recorded eight saves in total.

Even after going down by two goals in the second half the North Collins offense did not quit with a late goal giving hopes of another.

“That put the wind back in our sails,” Walters said about the Ebersole goal. “I think we had chances throughout the whole game and that goal brought us right back in it. I really thought that we would be able to tie it up, it just didn’t happen.”

The equalizing goal never came, as Ellicottville closed out the match 2-1 to win Class D and advance to the Far West Regionals against C.G. Finney or Fillmore at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Williamsville South High School. Section V will crown its winner Tuesday.

“It feels good,” Finn said about winning sectionals. “This is the 11th time we’ve played this game against North Collins and only the third win, so we’ll definitely take it.”

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