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By: Tim Birney | Waverly Athletics | October 25, 2022 | Photo courtesy David Alliger


OWEGO — Fourth-seeded Waverly pushed top-seeded Owego to the limit before suffering a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss in the Section IV, Class B Girls Soccer semifinals here Tuesday.

Owego’s Sami Baker squeezed one past the Wolverines’ Clare Clonch on a feed from Lily Morton less than two minutes into overtime to set the stage for a rematch of last year’s championship clash with Chenango Valley.

The Indians and Warriors shared the sectional title, but CV advanced to the state tournament after winning a penalty kick shootout.

Clonch played a very impressive game in goal, making 10 saves on the night against the Indians.

“Claire, she's still an end technically,” Waverly coach Tara Hogan said. “Believe it or not, she's as good on the field as she is in goal.

“We had to steal from our defense because our starting goalie’s been injured. She's been way more confident, hugging the line a little bit today more than we would've liked, and letting the ball bounce, but just something to work on. Ideally I'd rather hear on the field, so we can continue to shift people up.”

She also received solid support from the back line throughout the evening.

This contest saw Owego control the early possession time, but Waverly was able to adjust and make it a relatively even battle.

“So we don't like to seem to score in regulation, that's for sure,” joked Owego coach Laurel Neira. “We like to wait for added pressure, I guess. It was one heck of a game. Waverly really gave us a run for our money many times and they were a great team.

“Definitely scary at times, but I think both teams possessed well and we just were the ones to find the back.”

“My defense did amazing. They kind of saved a lot of their shots and they had some good shots from far out. So my defense gets a lot of credit," added Neira.

Neither team could establish dominance on offense as both squads put forth strong defensive efforts.

“They are very good at moving the ball. They're very good at moving it quickly and they've got some great players that know how to just dribble right down the field,” Neira said. “I think once we kind of figured that out and we found our rhythm of play we were able to counter that and use that to our advantage.

The Indians’ Cassie Doane and Lily Morton attempted shots from 30 and 45 yards away, respectively, near the midway point of the second half, but both were saved.

The second half had several occasions where both teams were drilling long balls into the other end looking for someone to break into the open, but it just didn’t happen.

“A lot of times we were getting caught against Lansing; we had two people going for the same ball, so we were able to open up a little bit more, not chase as much,” Hogan said. “I felt like because of our passing, that cleaned up everything, our passing this game, the best we've seen in the last three. I feel like that was able to slow them down, because we weren't leaving girls wide open in the middle of the field.”

“Their defense played way too far back, for us to get any long balls over, which I think we realized, so I think we kind of took that at halftime and we made that adjustment,” Neira said. “I think that helped us get a lot more shots, a second half, but again, we get to that point where it goes back and forth, and somebody just has to come out on top Thankfully, it was us, but they were a great competition. They were a great game.”

One of the Wolverines’ best scoring opportunities came with just over 5 ½ minutes remaining in regulation when an Owego defender and goalkeeper Olivia Dodge nearly took one another out of a play. Dodge went to the ground, but fortunately for the home team, Waverly’s shot-on-goal went wide right.

Two minutes later, the Indians’ Ashlyn Dalton ripped a rope that deflected off Clonch, who then responded well to get the save.

The Wolverines had one final opportunity to end the game in regulation, but Owego’s Zoey Schneider snubbed a potential breakaway with 30 seconds left on the clock.

The Indians brought the pressure early in OT, but Clonch deflected a Morton shot away just one minute into the extra session.

Morton’s corner kick was deflected over the crossbar 35 seconds later.

With the OT clock reading 13:03, Baker finally brought the game to an end.

Owego dominated the shots over Waverly, 17-4, but each team attempted four corner kicks.

Dodge made three saves for the Indians.

Waverly had a few fresh faces in its lineup due to some injuries. Among them were 8th-grader Ryleigh Judson and freshman Madison Cron.

The Wolverines finished the season with a 13-2-1 record, certainly nothing to scoff at.

“This was a strong game for us. They're top-seeded for a reason and I feel like we got to take that in,” Hogan said. “Our overall record is great. I mean we only lost twice. I mean, big takeaways. Winning the division for only the second time in our program history, so a lot of good things to take away. Not what we wanted, but a lot of good things.”

Waverly loses three seniors, Kennedy Westbrook, Alyvia Daddona and Kelsey Ward, but should return a solid group next year to include 17 players, nine of whom started against Owego.

About the Author

Tim Birney Author Bio

Tim Birney

Tim Birney is the founder / owner of River Road Media Group. He was born and raised in the Valley, graduating from Waverly High School in 1984.

Birney earned an Associate's Degree in Journalism from SUNY Morrisville in 1986 and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism / Public Relations from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1988. He began his newspaper career at The Daily Review in Towanda in 1989, before moving on to The Evening Times in 1995. He spent more than 10 years at the Times, the last four as Managing Editor.

River Road Media Group includes five sites in "The Sports Reports" family that cover 24 school districts in five counties: Valley Sports Report (launched Aug. 10, 2009), Tioga County (NY) Sports Report (Aug. 13, 2018), and Northern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 31, 2020); Northern Tier West Sports Report (March 15, 2021) Southern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 16, 2021).