October 20, 2014

Bennett goal crowns Dryden




Staff Writer

DRYDEN — Neither wind, rain nor a determined Elmira Notre Dame soccer team could keep Dryden High girls from remaining undefeated Saturday night at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Taylor Bennett scored with 19:25 left in the first half and the Purple Lions made that lone goal stand up for a 1-0 victory in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Overall Large School Division Championship match. The state’s second-ranked Class B team improved to 15-0 with the win. Notre Dame slips to 11-3-1 as both teams now prepare for sectional action. Bennett’s 24th goal of the season came on one of the things that Notre Dame coach Steve Weber feared the most, a set play off a corner kick. Abigail Barr send a slicing ball into the wind where Bennett settled it in the box. A quick step to the right got the opening needed for Bennett to drive the 15-yard shot low between the goalkeeper and the right post.
“We’re not aggressive enough,” Weber said. “We stand and watch too much on corners. You have to be tougher in those situations. It’s more psychological, there’s nothing more technique-wise we can do.
“There isn’t a lot of consolation in coming here and losing by one goal three years in a row,” he added. “I am real disappointed. We didn’t play as well as we should have. We seemed intimidated at times.”
It was the only shot of five first half attempts to elude Mackenzie Maloney who made seven saves on the night for the Crusaders.
“It was important to strike first,” Bennett said. “The game could have gone either way. It really was very close.
“Tonight it was everyone playing together as a team for the team,” she added. “We were playing for each other. When you play like that, there are chances and you have to take advantage of those chances.”
“THE RAIN DIDN’T seem to affect the kids,” Dryden coach Janine Bennett said. “That surprised me as we stayed disciplined and focused against a very good Notre Dame team.
“Our set pieces are dangerous, especially with Taylor up from the back line,” she continued. “Taylor is hard to mark. I would have liked to have us converted a couple of more chances, but we did what we had to do.”
Daughter Bennett ripped a 40-yard direct kick on target in the 10th minute of play that Maloney made a nice save on. Barr also got a nice open look from 25 yards out with nine minutes left in the first half. Maloney grabbed and held the slippery ball.
Notre Dame got one early chance in the fifth minute of the match that was stopped by Dryden goalkeeper Sarah Westcott. It was her only save of the half and she recorded four saves in the shutout.
The only other good scoring chance was a corner kick into the box that Bennett went high into the air and headed back towards midfield.
While clinging to the 1-0 lead, Westcott made the most daring play of the night and it paid off. With 18:55 left in the match, Westcott came out of 25 to 30 yards out of the goal to help cut down a potential Notre Dame advantage. With an open net behind her, the freshman slid to block the ball, got up and cleared the ball over the sideline to end the threat.
“Sarah is a great field player,” Coach Bennett said. “She did play in the field for us last year. She has good feet so that was a big plus. She came out strong and she came out confident. It was a nice volley towards the sideline to give her time to get back in the goal.”
Earlier in the second half, Westcott held her ground to thwart a two-on-one Crusader break. Laurel Vargas got a good look at the goal, but Westcott got the angle and corralled the ball.
DRYDEN DID GENERATE some scoring opportunities in the second half, but Maloney stopped them all to keep her team in the match. The best chance came when Barr deked two defenders for an open look from 25 yards away. Her low shot skipped once on the wet turf before Maloney made the save.
While winning the IAC title is nice, both Bennetts would really like a Section 4 title, or more, this season.“We have to take it one game at a time,” Taylor Bennett said. “Next up is Newark Valley and we want to play the same type of game and keep going forward.”
“We did get one sectional co-championship, but Oneonta advanced on a shootout,” Coach Bennett said. “It’s hard because we play mostly C and D schools all season. We don’t too many of those B or larger size schools so we are not quite as sharp. That tougher competition helps when it comes tournament time. It does make it tougher for us.”
Dryden is the fourth-seed in the Section 4 Class B Tournament and hosts fifth-seed Newark Valley Wednesday for a 3:30 p.m. quarterfinal match.
Notre Dame is the second seed in Class C, joining sixth-seed Marathon (6-7) and seventh-seed Groton (5-7) in post-season play. The Crusaders will face the winner of Wednesday’s 3:30 p.m. match between 10-seed Bainbridge-Guilford (6-8) at Groton contest Saturday at 3:30 p.m.. Sixth-seed Marathon has a first round bye and travels to third seed Unatego (13-2) Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
IN THE BOYS’ Large School title match that followed, Elmira Notre Dame got goals from Aidan Sharma, Alec Cutler and Ryan Lanning to post a 3-2 win over previously unbeaten Lansing, the state’s number one Class C team.
The 10th-ranked team improved to 14-0-1 and snapped a three-year losing streak in the IAC title game to Lansing while the Bobcats drop to 15-1. Lansing had allowed just one goal all season under Saturday night.

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