NOT ON MY WATCH — Hamburg’s Julia Whipple stopped a shot from Springville-Griffith Institute’s Tia Woodarek, during the playoff match. Hamburg took that one home 2-1. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — A record-setting, 13-win season came to an end for the Springville-Griffith Institute girls varsity soccer team. The ECIC III division champs were upended by Hamburg 2-1 on Oct. 24 in the quarterfinals of the section playoffs. Hamburg got on the board first, with a goal from Amy Villarini, to give Hamburg a 1-0 lead. Springville sophomore forward Emily Sion would tie the game up, later in the 36th minute.
“Her goal was a total momentum shift,” said Springville coach Shawn Bullard.
“To be honest, that was probably her strongest game she’s played, all year. One of the key things she did on that goal was she just simply followed the shot. The goalie kicked out a rebound and Emily’s hustle to get down there, all the way inside of the sixth, just speaks to her work ethic. She didn’t give up on it and really turned the tides in favor of us.”
Following Sion’s goal, Springville had three scoring chances to break the tie, but two were stopped by Hamburg keeper Julia Whipple and one shot went wide of the goal. Hamburg broke the 1-1 stalemate with 2 minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the match, with a goal by Kara Daly that proved to be the game-winner.
“It’s tough. We knew coming in, it was going be tougher completion in Class A, right off the bat,” said Bullard, after the game. “Our play was good; our play was solid. When we decided to play the feet, move the ball as a unit; we took it to them pretty good. There were definitely portions of that game where we were in control. One of the players we focused on stopping was Kara Daly. She wasn’t much of issue, most of the game, but she just slipped open, late in the game, and buried it.”
Springville finished the season 13-3-1, while winning the ECIC III division title. The season included both Tia and Alena Woodarek’s amassing 100 career goals, to make school history. Springville was moved up to the Class A playoffs, this year, after previously competing in Class B. Class A teams include Hamburg, Williamsville East and Williamsville South, which have team enrollment numbers that nearly double Springville’s.
The Lady Griffs set out to win a sectional title in the preseason, but came up short.
“After awhile, perspective really sets in and it’s disappointing,” said Bullard, about the falling in the playoffs. “I think we could have made a good run. But looking back at the whole, entire season, what a tremendous season. This is probably the most successful season I’ve been a part of, as a coach. At the very start of the year, I always just look at my team and say ‘hmm, this is going to be interesting.’ So, to watch them grow, learn and commit to get better, every day, since our loss on Sept. 6 was nothing short of remarkable.”
Springville will graduate eight seniors who were a part of two division titles, with one as co-champions. The seniors include Alena and Tia Woodarek, Shea Schelble, Dakota Nesselbush, Kate Darling, Ashley Blidy, Beth Lazarus and Leah Waldman.
“Those seniors were the core of the team,” said Bullard, about his seniors.
“A number of those girls have played varsity for multiple years. Those girls have been solidified and understood what it took to get the job done, for years. You can’t underestimate that experience factor. Going into next year, it’s going to be something new for the program, because so many faces that have been around for such a long time are gone.”
Stay locked in to the Journal in future editions, as all-star teams will be announced in the next few weeks.