By JOE ECKSTROM
OBSERVER Sports Reporter
For the second time this season the Dunkirk Marauders (1-6-1, 1-6-0) and the Fredonia Hillbillies (5-4-1, 3-3-1) gave fans the type of game one would expect to see when two rivals collide.
OBSERVER?Photo by Sean Pecuch
Fredonia’s Jon?Saeli breaks away from a Dunkirk defender during Monday’s CCAA?West boys high school soccer game.
Just like the first meeting earlier this month, it was the Hillbillies that edged out Dunkirk, 1-0, in CCAA West boys high school soccer.
"I'm so happy for our seniors," Fredonia coach Brett Gould said. "This game is a really big deal for everyone."
While the visiting players got to celebrate the last meeting of the season, the home team still had a lot to be proud of despite the loss.
"I feel bad for our guys," Dunkirk coach Mike Green said. "They gave everything they possibly could. You have to give Fredonia a ton of credit for how well they played. We hate to be on the losing end, but what a fun game to be a part of."
The Hillbillies had their opportunities in the first half with a few chances to take the lead, but a stout Dunkirk defense kept Fredonia from breaking the scoreless tie.
"I told each of our defensive players how proud of them I was," Green added. "Our goalkeeper, Tyler Kubasik, made so many unbelievable saves. We never felt out of the game with him in net."
For as good as the Marauders' defense played throughout the game, the Fredonia offense was relentless on the attack.
With 10 minutes left to go in the first half, a Fredonia shot hit off the crossbar for its best scoring chance.
However, both teams were unable to find the back of the net for a scoreless tie at the half.
"We moved the ball on the ground very well," Gould said. "For a team that practices on grass, we came in here and moved the ball with precise, crisp passes and made it look like we were the team that played on turf."
After more than 30 minutes of scoreless action in the second half, the Hillbillies finally struck the game-winner.
Kubasik had initially made the save on the scoring play, but on the rebound Kyle Leysath was able to tap in the game's only goal.
The Marauders struggled to get the scoring chances needed to make a comeback as the Hillbillies extended their streak of holding opponents scoreless to three games.
"We've progressed throughout the season," Gould said. "As we progress, we are starting to be the team we want to be a little more. There is a reason these guys haven't allowed a goal in three straight games."
As for Dunkirk's offensive woes, it was a decision to focus on defense that put the team in that position.
"We had one of our better goal scorers back on defense," Green said. "I know he didn't want to be back there, but he made the sacrifice for the team and it made a huge difference on the defensive end for us."
Dunkirk returns to the pitch on Wednesday as it plays host to Eden, while Fredonia will also be at home as it takes on Southwestern.