Clifton nets hat trick; Victor rallies to double up Greece Athena

The Victor Blue Devils rallied to defeat Greece Athena, 6-3 for their fifth straight win. (Photo: Paul Gotham)
The Victor Blue Devils rallied to defeat Greece Athena, 6-3 for their fifth straight win. (Photo: Paul Gotham)

By PAUL GOTHAM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Their rally cry is “Why Not Us?” After Monday’s performance, it’s easy to picture the Victor boys’ soccer team contending for the upcoming sectional championship.

Trevor Clifton connected on three first-half goals, and the Victor Blue Devils rallied to defeat the Greece Athens Trojans, 6-3 in non-league action Monday.

Clifton gave Victor’s its first lead of the game in the 20th minute at 3-2 when the senior attacker took advantage of a loose ball in the 18-yard box.

“Spencer (Ryczek) won that ball in the box,” Clifton said of his teammate who challenged for a header. “I just saw the ball bounce right in front of me. I had to make the play. I slid. Lucky to get a foot on it and go in.”

The Blue Devils took control from there.

Clifton found back of the net from 30 yards out in the 32nd minute and five minutes later he made it a 6-2 game when he got a head on teammate Mason Perry’s direct kick.

“I barely hit that ball,” Clifton noted. “I got the slightest nick on it. It could’ve been Mason’s goal. All it took was a little touch. The goalie didn’t know what was going on, so he didn’t have time to react. It was a perfect ball.”

Perry’s service came from 40 yards away.

“I saw Trevor raise his hand,” Perry explained. “He was taller than the defender, so it was a mismatch. I played a driven ball into him. I knew he was going to get it.He had the slightest nick on it, a perfect deflection. It wouldn’t have gone in without him. Great goal.”

Victor trailed early by deficits of 1-0 and 2-0 before Andrew Crean got the equalizer with a blast from outside the 18-yard box.

Ryczeck got the Blue Devils on the board in the game’s 12th minute.

“They were all over us the first ten minutes,” Victor coach Steve Fish said. “After that first goal we settled in and took a deep breath and realized we can play with them. We can possess. We can knock the ball around. Up until that first goal we looked a little rattled.”

The effort was Clifton’s second three-goal game in the past seven days having netted a trifecta in a 5-1 win over Gates-Chili last Wednesday. He now has 13 goals on the season.

“I got to thank my teammates for getting me the ball in perfect spots,” Clifton said. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t have a hat trick today.”

The win was the fifth straight for Victor which improved to 8-4-0 on the season.

“It feels really good,” Perry said of the current streak. “We started off little shaky. We’re getting better as it goes on. We should be ready for the big show.”

Ryczek finished with two goals and an assist.

Othman Belseine got Athena on the scoreboard less than three minutes into the game. Max Wright gave Athena a 2-1 edge in the 15th minute, but the Trojans struggled the rest of the half as Victor found success in counter-attack situations.

“We just didn’t come to play,” Greece Athena coach Mike Butler said. “We could have been up 3-0 early then we’re just giving up breakaway after breakaway. We’ve been good all year We’ve never not shown up to play, so that was disappointing.”

Athena’s Ryan Lindeman scored the lone second-half goal. The senior rung the crossbar early in the second stanza and later drilled the post.

“He’s just a magician with the ball,” Fish said of Lindeman. “The way he dribbles and takes on people, it’s only a matter of time. He stung us in the second half, but he rung two off bars. It was just our night. They didn’t get their chances to go in, and we finished all of ours.”

The loss was the second straight for Athena (8-3-2) which fell to Fairport, 2-0 on Saturday.

“It was a game that we were geared up for,” Butler said of the loss to Fairport. “We played okay there. We played hard. Fairport is really good. We didn’t get that done. What are you going to do? It happens.”

Athena hosts Brockport on Wednesday. A 4:30 p.m. kickoff is scheduled.

Visit hosts Penfield also on Wednesday. A 7:30 start time is slated.

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