By PAUL GOTHAM
GENESEO, N.Y. — The first thought that popped into the head of Sarah Cox was “Dive!”
Less than 30 seconds had elapsed in Wednesday’s Livingston County Athletic Association matchup, and Cox sprinted off her line.
Geneseo Blue Devil Mary Claire Rollins had slipped past the Warsaw defense for a breakaway and delivered a right-footed strike at the Warsaw goal.
“I need to dive right,” Cox recalled of the play.
The ball bounded off Cox and toward the end line. Rollins continued her momentum and caught up with the ball for another shot at what was, for a moment, an open net.
That is until Carly Wick arrived in the middle of the goal mouth.
“I didn’t sign up for that, for sure,” Wick said laughing. “I just had the slightest fear in my head.”
Rollins one-timed a shot near the end line along the right side that appeared heading into the opposite side netting. Wick stepped in front of the attempt.
“It’s not going to go in that corner (near post), so I might just well stand here and look big,” the senior center back said of the play. “And that’s what I did.”
She joked: “Give me some goalie gloves, I got this one.”
Threat averted; Warsaw went on to beat Geneseo 2-0 in a battle of state-ranked sides.
Emma Tangeman snapped a scoreless with 13:36 remaining in the first half, and Taylor Howard added another score early in the second half as Warsaw (No. 2 NYSSWA Class C) improved to 15-0-0 on the season.
“We couldn’t get anything in the box,” Tangeman said of her goal. “We definitely had more chances as the game went on because we started passing better, but in the beginning, we just needed that little bit of a step forward. A little confidence booster.”
The senior midfielder connected on her 13th goal of the season from 35 yards out for the game’s first score.
“I just take shots like that and hope they go in,” she said smiling. “I had one against Le Roy like that, so I figured I might as well. That one (against Le Roy) was from 40 yards, so I thought I’ll try it again.”
Howard capitalized on a second chance off a corner kick for her third goal of the season. Howard’s marker came less than three minutes into the second half.
“We score most of our goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half,” Tangeman said referring to a three-goal outburst during the first 10 minutes after halftime in a recent win over Le Roy.
The win was Warsaw’s second this year over Geneseo having beaten the Blue Devils by an identical score on September 25th.
“We knew we needed to score first to get the momentum, that always helps,” said Chloe Hubbard, the Tigers leading scorer on the season with 23 goals and 12 assists. “We needed to keep going in the second half, can’t let down. It’s just our mentality.”
Cox made five saves for her 12th shutout of the season.
“That’s my job,” the senior keeper said matter of factly. “That’s what I’m trained to do.”
— Paul Gotham (@PickinSplinters) October 13, 2021
Geneseo (No. 10 NYSSWA Class C) fell to 12-3-0. The Blue Devils had not allowed a goal since their previous loss to Warsaw – a five-game stretch that saw Nick Drollette’s squad outscore its opponents by a combined total of 17-0.
“When you don’t bury that one, it’s a heartbreaker,” Drollette said of the opportunity in the game’s opening minute. “I was happy to see how the girls responded even after we missed that.
“The first goal, my keeper got a little flat-footed. You’re not expecting a shot from 35 out. Second goal, a defensive breakdown on the corner and a defensive breakdown that led to the corner. You can’t give up those silly set pieces. That’s what happens. I was still happy with how our girls played.”
Geneseo hosts Avon in the regular season finale for both teams. A 6:30 p.m. kickoff is scheduled on Friday.
Warsaw closes out its regular season on the road when the Tigers travel to play Alexander on Friday. A 5 p.m. start is slated.