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Finn Guides Eagles To Upset Of Fillmore, State Semifinal Appearance

Ellicottville head coach Matt Finn guided the Eagles to a 13-4-1 record, including Section VI and Far West Regional Class D championships this season. Photo courtesy of Rich Rumfola

For two years, Fillmore represented the Buffalo and Rochester areas as the best Class D boys soccer team in the region.

Coming off back-to-back Far West Regional championship game victories over Ellicottville, 9-0 in 2021 and 2-0 in 2022, the teams met for the third straight year Nov. 3 at West Seneca West High School.

Head coach Matt Finn’s Ellicottville Eagles finally got the best of Jarrett Vosburg’s Fillmore Eagles.

Fillmore entered the New York State Public High School Athletic Association quarterfinal with a perfect 20-0-0 record, outscoring its opponents 114-7 in the process. Vosburg’s Eagles posted 14 clean sheets in those 20 games.

But on a cold Friday night in suburban Buffalo, it was not to be for Fillmore.

Finn’s Eagles made sure of it.

Junior Owen Doherty scored his team-leading 31st goal of the season on a penalty kick late in the first half to put Ellicottville in the lead — a lead it would never relinquish.

Senior Sam Edwards scored his 26th goal of the season off Doherty’s eighth assist of the campaign to give the soon-to-be five-time Section VI champions a 2-0 lead with 24 minutes left in the game and Doherty put the game away with another penalty-kick goal, his 32nd of the year, to send Ellicottville to the state semifinals.

At Goshen High School a week later, Ellicottville fell 2-1 to eventual state runnerup Poland of Section III, but that didn’t take away from a memorable season for the Eagles.

Ellicottville finished 13-4-1 overall, including 7-2-1 in Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association East Division play, which was good for second place behind champion Randolph — a Class C program.

Edwards, with his 26 goals and 19 assists, shared league Player of the Year honors with Cardinals sophomore Cooper Freeman.

Doherty was named a league First-Team all-star with his 32 goals and eight assists, while junior defender Ben Edwards was also named to the First Team with a goal and an assist to go along with anchoring the Eagles’ defense, which held opponents to 17 goals all season.

Senior midfielder EJ Doherty was named to the Second Team after tallying five goals and six assists, as was fellow junior midfielder Maddox Johnson, who finished with nine goals and three assists. Seniors William Benatovich and Aiden Harrington as well as senior goalkeeper Evan Bauer all joined them on the league’s Second Team. Benatovich had three goals and two assists, Harrington had a goal and an assist, and Bauer made a majority of the team’s 53 saves en route to nine clean sheets.

Honorable-mention all-league selections included: junior midfielder Kyle Robinson (three goals, 11 assists) and sophomore midfielder Cameron Mendell (one goal, three assists).

Add it all together and the result was Ellicottville’s third straight Section VI championship and a Post-Journal/OBSERVER Coach of the Year nod for Finn.

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