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Moore Than Ready

3-Seed Maple Grove Upends 6-Seed Westfield/Brocton, 7-1

Maple Grove’s Eli Moore, right, fights off Westfield/Brocton defender Ethan Weingart on his way to scoring the second of his four goals in Thursday’s Section VI Class C quarterfinal boys soccer game. P-J photo by Christian Storms

It was raining cats, dogs and goals at the Section VI Class C boys soccer quarterfinal between No. 6 Westfield/Brocton and No. 3 Maple Grove on Thursday afternoon.

While both teams were getting poured on by the rain, it was only the Red Dragons pouring on the goals as they secured a spot in the Class C semifinals with a 7-1 victory.

The weather clearly was impacting the way both teams were able to play, footing was hard to find, quick stops sent players sliding several yards and the elements made it difficult to move the ball efficiently. Everyone on the pitch was struggling more than usual to play in the weather, except for Maple Grove’s Eli Moore.

Moore was once again the catalyst of the Maple Grove attack, scoring all four goals of the first half and getting one assist in the second half. Luis Gradewald assisted two of Moore’s goals and RJ Helt assisted one.

“Eli Moore absolutely came prepared today to get us on the board,” said Maple Grove head coach Cara Abbey. “He’s still young — only a junior — he has just come into his own this season. It’s such a beautiful thing to watch him go from a ninth-grader on the team to a player leading the team.”

Westfield/Brocton’s Cole Holland executes a slide tackle against Maple Grove’s Gavin Rodgers during Thursday’s Section VI Class C quarterfinal soccer game. P-J photo by Christian Storms

Westfield/Brocton suffered the same fate as most teams this year and was unable to come up with an answer for Moore. On the other hand, Maple Grove had an answer for the very dangerous trio of seniors Darien Swanson, Cole Holland and Josh Barresi.

“They do have three really tough players in Cole, Josh and Darien,” Abbey said. “We knew we had to shut down that triangle, a triangle of that trio can be very dangerous. The combo of Sam Eimiller, Trent Moore, Paxton Faulk and Matt Trim on the backline has a skillset where they can get the job done.”

The Red Dragons’ backline was able to keep a clean sheet going into the last few minutes of the game, but Barresi was able to clear the shutout as he found the back of the net assisted by Simeon Lashbrook.

“We’re a team that never quits,” Westfield/Brocton head coach Josh McCord stated. “These guys gave so much heart all season long, they fought through so much in so many games. The season was about bringing back their love for soccer and it hurts to see the season end like that.”

Maple Grove’s team chemistry was on full display in the elements as the Red Dragons were able to overcome the elements.

Maple Grove’s Keegan Rishel (16) releases a shot as Westfield/Brocton’s Donovan St. George (6) attempts to get in the way during Thursday’s Section VI Class C quarterfinal boys soccer game. P-J photo by Christian Storms

“I think adverse weather like that, it’s going to slow both teams down quite a bit,” Abbey said. “Both teams are trying to stay on their feet, it’s not like anyone got dealt an unfair hand. We just passed beautifully and made the runs we needed to make. It didn’t slow down our attack.”

In the second half, Maple Grove’s youth got involved, with goals from sophomore Keegan Rishel and freshman Drew Oste. Benny Brown also scored with Moore being the assist man.

“It starts with last year. We lost a lot of talented seniors last year and you’ve got to figure out where each piece is going to go,” Abbey said. “We’ve got the guys in the right places.”

Maple Grove’s victory sets a date against undefeated No. 2 seed Portville on Monday in Eden at 5 p.m.

“Our next game is against Portville who is currently undefeated and that’s the elephant on their back, not ours,” Abbey said. “We’re going to focus on the things we do well. We’re excited about seeing them on Monday night.”

Maple Grove's Gavin Rodgers gears up for a shot as Westfield/Brocton's Darien Swanson comes in to attempt a block. P-J photo by Christian Storms

With the loss, Westfield/Brocton’s overall record finishes at 7-6-1 and caps off the careers of five seniors.

“I give a lot of thanks to the boys this year,” McCord said. “They worked hard all season and a big thanks to my five seniors, Darien Swanson, Cole Holland, Josh Barresi, Andrew Nellis and Ethan Weingart.”

Westfield/Brocton's Simeon Lashbrook jumps in front of a shot by Maple Grove's Luis Gradewald. P-J photo by Christian Storms

Westfield/Brocton's Cole Holland, middle, possesses the ball while being attacked by Maple Grove's Eli Moore, left, and Gavin Rodgers, right. P-J photo by Christian Storms

Westfield/Brocton defender Aiden Gatto launches the ball out of the box as Maple Grove's Eli Moore pursues. P-J photo by Christian Storms

Westfield/Brocton goalkeeper Aaron Fuller makes a sliding save while Wolverines’ defender Donovan St. George, left, races Maple Grove forward Benny Brown to the ball in Thursday’s Section VI Class C quarterfinal game. P-J photo by Christian Storms

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