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Late Goal Eliminates Southwestern In Class B2

Southwestern goalkeeper Reece Beaver makes a save during Tuesday’s Section VI Class B2 semifinal against Royalton-Hartland at Williamsville North High School. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

WILLIAMSVILLE — No. 7 Southwestern had a berth into the Section VI Class B2 finals on the line on Tuesday night against No. 3 Royalton-Hartland.

The game looked to go the distance against the Rams, until Kara Choate happened.

With four minutes left to play and the game still scoreless things looked destined for overtime, but the second-leading scorer in all of Section VI, Choate, got her one chance and didn’t miss to send the Rams past the Trojans 1-0 at Williamsville North High School.

“It’s always the danger of it being 0-0, especially with a player like that being around,” Southwestern head coach Derek Houser said about Choate capitalizing on her best opportunity. “Just one look and it can change that quickly.”

Rams forward Grace Parker hit Choate with a great pass that she could run into, Choate was sprinting determined to make the most of her best opportunity of the evening, and sent a wicked strike past Reece Beaver for the 1-0 lead and her 38th goal of the season.

Southwestern’s Kaylyn Carnes shields the ball from Royalton-Hartland’s Kara Choate during Tuesday’s Section VI Class B2 semifinal at Williamsville North High School. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

Even including the goal, the Trojans’ defense played strong to not allow any easy chances for the Rams. Freshman Kaylyn Carnes was given the mammoth job of holding Choate in check and did terrific, just allowing the one goal that few players in the entire section could have pulled off.

“Kaylyn Carnes and the rest of our defense did a terrific job,” Houser said about the defensive game plan. “Kaylyn basically drew Kara duty for the day and was able to frustrate her and hold her off the board for 76 minutes.”

The Rams’ bench erupted with emotion after finally putting one past Beaver and switched gears from looking to score to bleeding the clock. In the few remaining minutes of the game, Royalton-Hartland kept the ball on the Southwestern half of the pitch and protected it in the corners to not give up possession.

Southwestern’s offense was unable to find its much-needed goal, bringing its run as a No. 7 seed to an end despite certainly not playing like a 7-seed.

“The team really relished that role,” Houser said about being the underdogs in the quarterfinals and semifinals. “Last year in the playoffs we were the No. 1 seed and this year the regular season didn’t quite go the way a lot of us thought. They came together … it was really amazing to see what this team could do.”

With the win Royalton-Hartland set a date with No. 1 Fredonia at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Williamsville North High School. Southwestern finished its season 8-10-1 overall and just one game short of the Class B2 finals.

“This has been a great two-year stretch,” Houser stated. “The six seniors I have, I have so much admiration for them and I have been very fortunate to work with them.”

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