PORTVILLE — The Portville and Salamanca girls soccer teams could be seeing a lot of each other in the next week.
On Thursday, the CCAA East opponents faced off for the first time with just days left in the regular season. Tonight, the Panthers and Warriors conclude their regular campaigns with a rematch in Salamanca. And both teams, currently second and third in their league, entered the night in contention to secure seeding for a home playoff game.
After keeping it a one-goal game for more than 60 minutes, Salamanca ultimately fell in Round 1 Thursday, as Portville scored twice in the final 19 to claim a 3-0 win.
Teagan Kosinski broke through for the first goal with 12:01 left in the first half, finishing a patient pass from Olivia Dean into an open net after Dean drew Salamanca goalkeeper Makenzie Oakes to the left.
Dean scored the next goal, finishing through Oakes to bury a rebound with 18:24 left in the game. Mallory Welty tacked on the final goal with 7:57 left. Welty and Kendall Artlip tallied assists on the last two scores.
“It didn’t really seem like we took control in terms of possessing the ball,” Portville coach Jesse Archer said of his team’s finish. “As a matter of fact, I’d like to say that it was even in terms of the ball possession, but it seemed to me like they did a lot of good things with the ball as well.”
To finish off the outcome, Portville stressed playing to the outside to avoid Salamanca sweeper Laila Zolner.
“She’s lightning fast,” he said. “We play balls through in the middle, we’re not going to get them no matter how good the pass is. She’s just too fast, so the ones we were able to put through seem like they were balls wide where she now has to cover more ground to get there, we play them back in and she’s not in her spot. She played a great game for them in the sweeper position and I think everything we kept trying to do was right where she was. So basically we played where she wasn’t.
“That seemed to be the way that we capitalized, but it could have gone either way for them too. It’s a really nice team, Coach Hill is doing a really good job with them. I think they play the game the right way and I think some teams better watch out when they play Salamanca.”
Portville goalkeeper Faith Capito had a shutout with one save. Oakes made five stops for Salamanca.
PORTVILLE (8-3) and Salamanca (7-4) currently sit fourth and fifth in the Section 6 Class C standings, based on league record, but either could rise or fall pending Friday’s result. Archer said if the teams tie in the standings, a coin flip would determine the higher seed.
“I really do think that they’re a great team and tomorrow could very well be a different story,” Archer said. “We’re hoping to get some confidence with the game we like to play against a team that pressures the ball. We struggled with that tonight, so tomorrow we’ll see if we can settle down a little bit against their pressure and connect on some of our passes.”
After having a game on Monday pushed to Wednesday due to weather, Salamanca played its third of four games in four days. Coach Michelle Hill admitted, “it’s been a long week” for her team.
“That’s a hard feat for anyone, but especially having to play a team like Portville, which is a very disciplined, hard working team,” Hill said. “They did not let up for a single second of the 80 minutes of the game. Tomorrow will be the last home game for our three seniors and perhaps the last game for all of the girls on that field (before Salamanca begins play on a new turf field next fall).
“Hopefully the emotions from that reality will help to bring the girls together on Friday and play their best soccer and battle for a better result.”