Frewsburg Girls Win Third Straight Class C Crown
DUNKIRK — Big-time players have to shine in big-time games.
For Frewsburg, senior Tyra Clark and junior Alex Hultberg stepped up Saturday afternoon.
And the Bears have a third straight Section VI Class C girls soccer championship to show for it.
Clark assisted on Hultberg’s goal in the third minute of the second half as No. 3 Frewsburg beat No. 4 Wilson 1-0 at Dunkirk High School’s Karl Hoeppner Field.
“It’s all excitement. We were supposed to come back here,” Hultberg said postgame. “This is where we were meant to be and we did it again.”
Next up for the Bears is a 4 p.m. Saturday date with Section V’s representative at Caledonia-Mumford High School. C2 champion Byron-Bergen and C1 champion Warsaw will play for the Rochester-area crown this week.
“We’re ready,” Hultberg added. “We’re going to go back to work and do whatever we can to win.”
Wilson gave Frewsburg all it could handle Saturday, but that didn’t stop the Bears from earning their 16th shutout in the past 17 games. Head coach Scott Stone’s team has yet to allow a goal in 240 minutes of playoff soccer this fall.
“This was the most they were challenged. … Believe me, they are still upset about that Southwestern goal,” Stone said about a 5-1 win over the Trojans on Oct. 11. “We take pride in our defense and take every single goal personally. We needed our defense today, we needed every minute of that shutout.”
After a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes, Wilson got the first good opportunity when sophomore Leia Cloy missed on a long free kick with just over 17 minutes left in the first half.
Less than six minutes later, Hultberg got a free-kick opportunity of her own, but missed just over the crossbar.
Frewsburg senior keeper Cadence Rodgers then began to put her stamp on the game. The Lakewomen turned to their transition game off a Bears corner kick and with seven minutes left in the opening half, junior Madelaine Schultz got free for a long breakaway, but her low shot inside the 18-yard box skipped in on net and Rodgers made the save.
“Cadence Rodgers came up huge today. We haven’t needed a goalie to go win a game for us. Today we did,” Stone said. “Cadence stood tall. She made three or four big-time plays. … For her to be on her toes and ready, it really helped us out today.”
Finally, after halftime, Frewsburg broke through. A ball went out of bounds on the Bears’ sideline and senior Nora Edwards quickly played a throw-in to Clark near the Wilson goal line.
“We’re just trying to play fast and keep the ball deep,” Stone said. “We have players all around the field that are dangerous. We are trying to get that ball in the middle and we’re trying to make a play.”
Clark, Frewsburg’s second-leading scorer, then lofted a dangerous ball into the middle of the 6-yard box and Hultberg beat the Lakewomen keeper for a 1-0 lead.
“Tyra made a move and a beautiful cross,” Stone said. “Alex was right there on a great goal to find a way to get that in and beat the keeper.”
With just over 17 minutes remaining in the game, Wilson was awarded a corner kick and the ball rattled around in close before a shot from around the 18-yard line was turned away by Rodgers.
“I expected an absolute grind. They are a good team and they got here for a reason,” Stone said. “When you get this far, you don’t overlook anybody.”
As tensions rose late, more fouls were committed and three yellow cards were handed out.
“It’s one of the most intense games we’ve been in,” Hultberg said. “We had to fight until the end.”
The Lakewomen’s best opportunity in the final minutes was a header from junior Madison Miller that was sent wide with just over nine minutes remaining.
“We were shutting them down and keeping possession of the ball,” Clark said. “They were getting really frustrated, but we just kept playing our game.”
As the final seconds ticked off, the Bears gathered near the middle of the field as many of the team’s 11 seniors celebrated their third straight title.
Unlike last year, this time Frewsburg will have an opportunity to win a Far West Regional. Back in 2019, the Bears lost 4-0 to Marion and last season state playoffs were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve been talking about going back to this game for two years. We’ve been working toward this game for eight years,” Stone said. “We are absolutely going to walk up there expecting to win and ready to win. We are not done. We want to go to the state Final Four. That’s the goal.”