North Collins Girls Advance to Class D Title Game | News, Sports, Jobs
North Collins and Franklinville clashed Monday afternoon from Dunkirk high school for the chance to participate in the Section VI Class D championship match.
The Lady Eagles have served as a home team, given their top 8-6-1 record, and on Monday they certainly played like the top team.
The Eagles scored in a flurry, finding the back of the net four times in the first half en route to a 5-1 semifinal victory.
“We wanted to start early” North Collins coach Vince Fininzio said. “It suits us and takes the frenzy out of the game. We play better when we’re relaxed, I’m sure everyone does.
It was obvious that North Collins was going to dictate the pace of the game. Just four minutes into the action, it forced Franklinville goalkeeper Cheznea Rivera to make an excellent save to keep the game goalless. However, that wouldn’t stay that way for long. Just five minutes after that, North Collins’ Lina Young knocked back a Rivera goal kick and, thanks to a few Lady Eagles defenders, snatched a shot from 25 yards that found the other side of the net for the ‘lead 1-0 at the start.
But the score did not end there. Barely four minutes after Young found the back of the net in the ninth minute, Hailey Jasinski joined Young in the scoring group. Young found Jasinski on a corner, which knocked him down and beat Rivera on the near side, extending the lead to 2-0.
Although the Lady Eagles consistently found the back of the net, Rivera was the Lady Panthers’ strongest player. She was forced to make stop after stop, including a few good ones. In addition to his early stoppage to keep him scoreless for a time, Rivera kept the game just 2-0 on a magnificent save from close range. Rivera is the team’s normal replacement goalkeeper, who was due to replace him on Monday night, and the senior’s play was a huge plus for coach Tim Wangelin.
“She did a great job of filling,” Wangelin said. “She has played a bit in the past, but nothing in the starting position. She did a great job of holding us back and keeping us close. You can tell that his confidence grew over time.
But the game didn’t stay 2-0 for long after Rivera’s save. In the 17th minute, Rivera and a teammate collided while playing on the ball, leaving Lady Eagles midfielder Autumn Awald with a wide open net and she didn’t miss, bringing the score to 3-0.
In the 33rd minute, Young added her second of the half, using her speed to move through the Franklinville defense, finding herself all alone with Rivera and making no mistakes. With 18 goals scored this season, Young is a constant threat to put the ball in the net at any time.
“Without exception, she is the best player on the team,” said Fininzio. “She’s one of the best players I’ve coached in six years. She works hard at it. Today to see her with a few assists was fantastic. When you score, most of the teams try to stop you, so the team that rallied around that was great. “
In the 55th minute, Jaelyn Benjamin-Watson put Franklinville on the board when the game collapsed in net. The Lady Panthers started to have more pressure this entire half, but it was too little, too late. Rivera made three more quality saves, including a punch jumping on a bender from Young to keep the score as it was, followed by a corner kick from Young. North Collins added one more goal in the 63rd minute, when Young sent a ball past Emily Gerdau.
North Collins now has the chance to compete for the Section VI Class D title against Ellicottville, as Franklinville’s season draws to a close. Wangelin said that while his team has struggled, he has a group of young people to work with.
“We are young, we are learning and we are still growing” Wangelin said. “We only had three older people and you could tell sometimes we were inexperienced, but it will pay off down the road. “
And while Young provides much of North Collins’ offense, the team is successful in part because Fininzio believes in every girl on his team.
“I use everyone in my team in every game” said Fininzio. “Everyone that I have put in place is successful. It helps the kids stay involved in the game, and anyone I confide in I can trust. “