EDEN — The Ellicottville boys soccer team got a later start to its postseason than it anticipated, but appeared ready nonetheless.
Scheduled for 2:30 p.m., the Eagles didn’t play Franklinville in the Section 6 Class D semifinals until after 4 due to overtime and a lightning weather delay during Saturday’s early semifinal between North Collins and Pine Valley. Playing on a cold, wet turf amid steady rain all afternoon, Ellicottville ran out to a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes against the Panthers and rolled to a 9-0 victory.
“I was a little nervous,” Eagles coach Matt Finn said of the delay. “We had team breakfast at 10, left Ellicottville at 11, got here at noon and with the delay, with everything else, we actually went in their gym and warmed up a little bit. So that helped.”
Mikey McGuire scored a hat trick and Jack Snyder had two goals to No. 1 Ellicottville (10-6-1), which advanced to the sectional championship Friday against North Collins, which got past Pine Valley, 2-1, in the second overtime.
Brennan Finn, Justin Imhoff, Simon Lin and Mitchell Azcarate had one goal each for ECS.
Goalie Jamison Caldwell made one save in the shutout. Tyler Folts stopped 17 shots for No. 4 Franklinville (1-15).
“I thought our possession was pretty good today,” Finn said. “We moved the ball pretty well. When they’re moving the ball, they’re pretty fun to watch and I don’t necessarily think it’s anything I’ve done, it’s probably just stuff that they’ve learned over the years.”
Even with the runaway victory, Finn thought his team could improve, as it didn’t score again after the 3-0 flurry until 3:41 remained in the first half.
“It’s always nice to get a couple goals early but unfortunately we went into a little lull after that,” he said. “We got that third goal and we didn’t score again until five minutes left in the first half. We kind of got a little comfortable, which could hurt us. It has hurt us this year, where we’ve got a goal or something and we got very comfortable with it.”
The Class D playoffs move to Tonawanda for Friday’s championship at 5 p.m. The Eagles hope to win their third title in the last six years and first since 2015.
No. 3 North Collins upset No. 2 Pine Valley after losing twice to the Panthers in the regular season.
“That was a great game,” Finn said. “They didn’t play the way that I heard that they play. They possessed more and in the first half they played really well. The second half, Pine Valley took it to them a little bit. I think they’re a good possession team, I think they’re going to be tough, very tough.”