GET IT IN NET — Springville-Griffith Institute’s Owen Gow dribbles the ball toward the net as he scored his goal against Amherst on Sept 29. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — Entering a matchup with Springville-Griffith Institute on Sept. 29, the Amherst boys soccer team was in second place in ECIC III with a 4-2 league record. On the other side, Springville sat near the bottom of the standings, in sixth place after a 1-4 league start to the year. Amherst took an early 1-0 lead, but Springville stormed back with 2 unanswered goals, to upset Amherst 2-1.
“Our win in the second half was due mostly to the increase in communication,” said senior Jason Fisher, who starts on defense. “It feels great that we, as Griffins, don’t get down or ever give up. With hard work and a couple position switches, we stayed strong and focused. In the end, it paid off and we won.”
Owen Gow and AJ Fisher each scored a goal for Springville, in the second half, with the game winner coming from Fisher, in the 75th minute. Jason Fisher spoke about transitions that helped the offense pick up more chances and gave his cousin, AJ the opportunity for the game clincher.
“Everyone played great,” said Jason Fisher. “The second half, the whole team came together and the transitions from defense to offense and back were beautiful. That led to opportunities and with opportunities, you get shots, and we had enough to get the win.”
Springville avenged an earlier 4-1 loss to Amherst, in the beginning of the season. The Tigers have been prolific on offense, this year. Aside from tallying 4 goals against Springville in their first meeting, Amherst scored 6 goals in two other games, this year. Springville senior defenseman Jon Weronski, said that getting 50/50 balls and overall attitude was responsible for the stinginess, defensively.
“Getting 50/50 balls was the main thing,” said Weronski, about limiting the Tiger’s offense to 1 goal, through 80 minutes. “But when the second half started, especially after we got our first goal, it seemed like everyone wanted to play. The team, as a whole, had a completely different outlook on how the game could end. I’d definitely say it was a well-deserved win, for the team.”
A week earlier, Springville fell to Maryvale 3-2 in double overtime in the team’s annual homecoming game, played on the football field.
Kevin Zabawa scored to give Springville a 2-1 lead, with minutes remaining in the match, but Maryvale’s Tyler Diebold scored one of his 2 goals, on the night, to send the game into overtime. The game remained 2-2 through the first overtime however; the Flyers’ Eric Green scored the game-winning goal in the second extra session, to give Maryvale the 3-2 win after nearly 100 minutes of play.
“We played a hard, physical game and played better defensively,” said Springville head coach Tom Szczerbacki. “It was tough to let that one slip away, so late in the game, but we need to learn from the mistakes that cost us. We had to collect ourselves and focus after the late goal, but I thought we played a solid overtime and created a couple opportunities that gave us a chance to win, but just could not finish. The fans were loud and the team appreciated the enthusiasm they showed for us, during and after the game. It was a great environment to play in.”
Despite that loss, Springville is 4-5 overall, on the year. That record is a dramatic improvement from its 1-16 mark, a year ago. Just two games out of second place; the Griffs could be making a run for mid- to high-seed, when the playoffs roll around in a few weeks. With 14 returners from last year’s team back and an experienced batch of 12 seniors, Springville has made a tremendous turnaround.
“Having an experienced team definitely has made a big difference,” said Sullivan. “Playing [together] makes us communicate much better and actually play as a team, win as a team, and lose as a team.”
Springville plays Cheektowaga on Oct. 9 as they look to sweep the Warriors.