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West Valley varsity girls soccer team eliminated in the semifinals

WEST VALLEY — West Valley Central School’s varsity girls soccer team headed into the playoffs on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at Pine Valley, a team that West Valley tied 1 – 1 in the final game of the regular season.

Going into that game, West Valley was winless in seven games and held a 4 – 8 – 2 record. Despite the slump, the girls earned a clean slate and a berth in the playoffs. West Valley brought home a 3 – 1 win against Pine Valley, bringing its winless streak to an end.

Monica Henney struck for Pine Valley at the 10-minute mark of the first half, to open the scoring, but, 11 minutes later, WVCS player Rachael Zimmer set up Taylor Williams for the tying goal. The game remained tied into halftime.

West Valley shut out the opposition in the second half and Zimmer got her second point of the night about 20 minutes into the second half, when she scored the game-winning goal.

Jessica Baker had the assist. Amber Thiel put West Valley up 3 – 1 at the 32-minute mark of the second, with an unassisted goal that rounded out the scoring.

Ashley Blackmon made seven saves for West Valley. Her counterpart, Nichole Rinehart, made 12 saves in net for Pine Valley.

“It was nice to see our team respond positively to letting a goal in early,” said West Valley Coach Steve Kenworthy.

“Often in the past, an opponent’s early goal would get us down but, this year, that hasn’t happened. It shows how much this team has grown up.”

The second game of the playoffs came last weekend on Saturday, Oct. 27 against Ellicottville, a game hosted by Pioneer. That game was the Section 6 Class D semifinals.

“If we want to be the best, we have to beat the best,” said Kenworthy, prior to the game.

West Valley’s five shots on goal could not beat Ellicottville goaltender Liz Wendel, who got the shutout. Blackmon turned away 15 shots, including a penalty shot in the second half, but one got by, in the 1 – 0 loss.

Morgan Zlockie scored that goal for the opponent, with an assist to Sarah Wojtowicz.

“Everyone on our team knew what a tough challenge we had in facing Ellicottville,” Kenworthy said.

“They are always at the top of Class D and usually better than most C teams. I thought that we matched up with them quite well in the first half, with chances pretty even, on both sides.”

The field began to tilt in favor of Ellicottville, in the second half, according to the coach.

“During the second half, they dominated us and managed to get the one goal despite strong goaltending and great defense by Megan Bailey.”

Before concluding the season, Kenworthy said, “I’d like to thank everyone who supported us this year.”

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