The Section V Girls Soccer playoffs begin tonight, with several GLOW region teams entering their respective classifications with a reasonable chance of taking home a sectional championship.
Among the many teams vying for a title, five stick out as true contenders, with Batavia (Class B1), Geneseo (Class C1), Byron-Bergen (Class C2), Wheatland-Chili (Class C2) and Warsaw (Class C2) each sitting near or at the top of their respective classifications with postseason play set to begin.
Batavia is in search of the first title in their program’s history in ‘B1.’ Under longtime head coach Roger Hume, the Blue devils have enjoyed another successful regular season, finishing 10-2-4 which earned it the No. 2 seed within its classification. The Blue Devils are looking up at top seed Pal-Mac (14-1-1) as they prepare for their opening-round playoff matchup on Oct. 21 which will be against the winner of an opening round matchup between Geneva and Newark.
Batavia comes equipped with just two seniors but has used the efforts of several underclasswomen to propel its success. Anna Varland has paced the Blue Devils’ attack, as the junior has led the way with 17 goals and six assists this season. Fellow junior, Julia Petry, is the team’s woman between the pipes, having stopped 92 of the 109 shots she’s faced . Ninth-grader Ella Shamp is another significant contributor for Hume’s bunch, collecting 12 tallies and doling out nine assists. In Class C1, No. 2 Geneseo (14-2-0) opens its title quest with a matchup against Avon tonight, a game scheduled for 6 p.m. at Geneseo High School. The Blue Devils won 12-of-13 games to complete their regular season and enter the playoffs as hot as any team within their classification. Head coach Nick Drolette and company are consistently top contenders come sectional time, and this year is no different.
Six seniors have helped power Geneseo’s efforts, with Mary-Claire Rollins, the most impressive among the group, having netted 15 goals and three assists this season. Juniors Maddie Mark and Caroline Capel have been equally as critical to the Blue Devils’ success, with Mark tallying eight goals and two assists this season, while Capel has led the team’s defensive effort between the pipes, stopping 58-of-64 shots on the year.
Within Class C2, three GLOW region squads enter with hopes of winning a championship, with No. 1 seed Byron-Bergen leading the way, followed by No. 3 Wheatland-Chili and No. 4 Warsaw.
Byron-Bergen opens the postseason with a matchup against Perry tonight at 7 p.m. at B-B High School. The Bees finished the regular season unbeaten, outscoring their opponents 104-3 on their way to 16 straight victories.
Seven seniors line the B-B roster, but it’s been the Bees’ underclasswomen who have been leading the way for this bunch throughout the year. Ninth-grader Mia Gray, who was the Genesee Region League Player of the Year last season, has picked up right where she left off a year ago. Gray leads the Bees with 31 goals and 21 assists, both marks being good enough for a top-five ranking within Section V. Mackenzie Hagen has complemented Gray’s incredible play with a fantastic season of her own, netting 24 tallies and doling out 15 assists. The B-B junior ranks inside the Sec. V top-15 in goals scored and assists this season. Fellow juniors Emma Starowitz and Novalee Pocock are other top contributors for the Bees, with Starowitz chipping in 13 goals and 14 assists and Pocock stopping 44-of-47 shots as the team’s goalkeeper.
Wheatland-Chili was one of just two teams to score on B-B this season, falling to the Bees by a 3-2 margin on Oct. 1. The Wildcats have a long track record of success, having won a state championship just a few years ago, and once again have what it takes to make a run at the vaunted Bees come sectional time. Wheatland-Chili will begin the postseason with a matchup against Campbell-Savona tonight at 6 p.m.
As with many of the local teams vying for a championship, it’s been underclasswomen leading the way for the Wildcats. Emily Parker finished the regular year as her team’s leading scorer, having netted 13 goals and chipped in 12 assists this season. The talented junior is joined by sophomore Lilliana Swavely, who scored nine goals to go with five assists this season, while eighth-graders Jaeda Mekker and Vanessa Guerrero each scored eight goals apiece. Two goalkeepers have spent ample time in between the pipes for W-C, with junior Marena BeBruyne and Keira Nash both factoring into the Wildcats’ defensive effort.
Warsaw has been powered by one of the top players in program history, 100-goal scorer Chloe Hubbard, who notched the century mark for her career a few weeks ago. Hubbard scored 20 goals and added six assists to help lead the Tigers, who won five straight games to end the regular season. Warsaw is one of the most experienced teams in Sec. V, coming equipped with 10 seniors, many of which have played a significant role in the team’s success. Along with Hubbard, Makaylah Higgins is another high-level senior on the Tigers’ roster, having finished the regular season with 11 goals and seven assists, while fellow upperclasswoman Taylor Howard netted eight goals and four helpers on the year. Hailey DeGroff has been the team’s stalwart between the pipes, as the senior goalkeeper has stopped 64-of-75 shots she’s faced this season. Sophomore Ellie Tangeman, a sophomore, has scored nine goals and doled out six assists this season.
The action kicks off tonight. Follow along at thedailynewsonline.com for results from the sideline of the Sec. V Girls Soccer postseason.