BY JEREMY IZZIO
OBSERVER Sports Reporter
The top-seeded North Collins Eagles used four second-half goals to take down the No. 4 Pine Valley Panthers, 4-0, in Saturday's Section 6 Class D semifinal boys soccer matchup at Dunkirk's Karl Hoeppner Field.
OBSERVER Photo by Jeremy Izzio
North Collins’ Kyle Loretto cuts off Pine Valley defender Tyler West to maintain possession of the ball during Saturday’s Section 6 Class D boys soccer semifinal at Dunkirk’s Karl Hoeppner Field.
"We were not good enough to win a championship (Saturday)," North Collins coach Jay Walters said. "We have four practices to put it together before we have to meet whoever we have to play. Once we got past the butterflies of the playoffs I think that we were able to settle in. We were satisfied with the last 12 to 13 minutes of the first half and were OK in the second half. We underperformed (Saturday)."
After a scoreless first half, the Eagles were finally able to get on the board when Ahmed Ellethy scored his first goal of the season 15 minutes into the second half. The scoring opportunity began with a corner kick that landed in front of the net and resulted in a scramble.
Just when it appeared that Pine Valley would be able to clear the ball, the Eagles regained possession and Austin Winter set up Ellethy out front for the shot. Panther goalie Dylan Chase was able to get a hand on the ball, but the force of the shot carried the ball into the net.
Pine Valley was able to defend the heavy pressure by the Eagles over the next 10 minutes, but North Collins was able to get on the board again when Ellethy scored his second goal of the contest.
After a throw in from around the 25-yard line, the ball snuck through the defense and found the foot of Ellethy who buried the shot from right out front with 10 minutes left.
North Collins continued to play solid offense as they kept the ball in the Pine Valley zone for the majority of the final minutes.
The Eagles third goal came when David Lynch weaved through the Panther defense, moved into the 18-yard box and put the ball in the back of the net. Jourdain Mathis assisted on the goal.
With the game already out of reach, North Collins was awarded a direct kick and capitalized when Lynch scored his second goal of the game to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead.
Nathan Turnbull picked up the shutout for the Eagles in goal.
"We had guys that stepped it up. We put some of our more skilled guys on the field that we don't use as much and they stepped up (Saturday)," Walters said. "I got two goals out of each one of them. We weren't good enough to win a championship (Saturday), but we are good enough as a team and we still have four days to put it all together."
Despite completely controlling the first half, the Eagles were unable to score a goal, resulting in a 0-0 score at halftime. Pine Valley played scrappy defense throughout the contest and after not having a program for the past four years, it was able to keep the score close for the majority of the match with powerhouse North Collins.
"We played a heck of a game," Pine Valley coach Dave Pihlblad said. "This is the first year we've had soccer in four years. We have five guys that have ever played soccer before in their lives. So coming out and keeping it close with North Collins shows just how much these guys care and how much they've been working this year. I'm excited for the future."
North Collins will move on to play the winner of No. 2 Ellicottville vs. No. 3 West Valley on Nov. 1 in Hamburg in the Sectional finals.