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Golden Cougars Avenge Earlier Loss To Eagles

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s Ethyn Gilbert heads the ball in front of Ellicottville’s Owen Doherty during Wednesday’s CCAA East Division game at Bill Race Field in Falconer. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

FALCONER — As the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association East Division’s boys soccer schedule enters the home stretch, four teams have a shot at the league title.

One of those teams, Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, entered Wednesday’s home game against Ellicottville at Bill Race Field, having already lost to the Eagles earlier this season.

If the Golden Cougars were to fall behind any further, their dreams of a division crown would likely be gone.

So Coach Nick Quattrone’s team flipped the script.

Junior Ethyn Gilbert and Adam Dossey scored first-half goals and the Falconer/Cassadaga Valley defense limited Ellicottville’s chances for the entire 80 minutes en route to a 2-0 victory.

Ellicottville’s EJ Doherty and Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s Finley Pavlock battle for possession during Wednesday’s CCAA East Division game at Bill Race Field in Falconer. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

“It’s just a confidence thing with our team,” Quattrone said, “letting them know we can hang with any team here.”

The Golden Cougars improved to 6-5-1 overall and, more importantly, 4-2-1 in the East Division with the win. Falconer/Cassadaga Valley closes its league schedule home against Gowanda/Pine Valley and at Randolph next week before a home game against Salamanca/Cattaraugus-Little Valley on Oct. 12.

Ellicottville fell to 6-3-1 overall and 5-2-0 in the league with the loss. The Eagles will host Salamanca/Cattaraugus-Little Valley and Portville next week before closing their league schedule at Randolph on Oct. 12.

“They came out, they hustled like crazy and they possessed the ball so much better,” Ellicottville head coach Matt Finn said was the difference from the teams’ first meeting. “We had pressure on us all day. They are a very good team.”

Portville’s 4-0 victory over Salamanca/Cattaraugus-Little Valley on Wednesday vaulted the Panthers into sole possession of first place while Randolph is now tied with Ellicottville after beating Gowanda/Pine Valley 6-0.

“We just all slug it out all year long,” Finn said. “Whoever survives at the end will end up being league champion.”

The first time Falconer/Cassadaga Valley and Ellicottville met Sept. 12, it was the Eagles scoring twice in the first half before going on to win 2-1.

On Wednesday, the Golden Cougars jumped on top with 27:12 remaining in the first half when Alex Reynolds passed to Gilbert, whose long shot glanced off the hand of Ellicottville goalkeeper Evan Bauer into a high corner of the goal.

It was Reynolds’ sixth assist and Gilbert’s third goal of the season.

“He’s incredibly elusive. He’s just an incredible offensive talent,” Quattrone said of Gilbert. “He’s so unpredictable. Defenses really have to be on their toes when they play against him.”

Just over 12 minutes later, Falconer/Cassadaga Valley created some breathing room. Bauer misplayed a ball in the 18-yard box and Dossey blocked a clearing attempt. The senior midfielder then calmly dribbled away from Bauer and calmly tucked a low shot into the net from a bad angle to make it 2-0 with his first goal of the season.

“Adam Dossey is just a hard worker up and down the field at all times,” Quattrone said. “He’s relentless on the ball and that’s why he was rewarded.”

Juniors Austin Main and Finley Pavlock anchored a Golden Cougars defense that included seniors Alex Hudson, Coleson Barber and Max Comstock, and junior Calvin Hilliker. The group limited Ellicottville inside the 18-yard box for the entire evening.

“Our defense was hard to play against. They didn’t get a lot of balls into our 18,” Quattrone said. “There was a lot of communication out of the back, which resonated across the entire field.”

The Eagles’ best shots came off free kicks with Falconer/Cassadaga Valley senior keeper Carson Olson needing to make two tough saves.

“We couldn’t connect,” Finn said. “At halftime, I said we should start attacking the outside … we didn’t exactly do what we wanted to do.”

Ellicottville’s best scoring chance came with just over 32 minutes remaining when sophomore Owen Doherty connected on a pass to Sam Edwards, but the junior’s pass through the 6-yard box could not find a teammates’ foot and rolled harmlessly out of bounds.

“Our defense was incredibly aggressive today,” Quattrone said. ” … There were no easy balls in and everything was cleared out.”

Now, if the Golden Cougars are able to take care of business Monday against Gowanda/Pine Valley, Wednesday’s matchup with the Cardinals in Randolph will go a long way toward deciding a league champion.

“It’s a push to the playoffs,” Quattrone said. ” … No nights off.”

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