It was the game that wouldn’t end.
After 110 minutes of hard-fought play, including four overtimes, the Akron girls soccer team dropped a Class B Far West Regional playoff to Hornell, the Section V champion, via penalty kicks on Friday night.
After playing to a 1-1 draw through regulation, the Red Raiders prevailed in the shootout, 4-2, to advance to the Class B state semifinals next Saturday in Cortland. It will be Hornell’s first state Final Four appearance.
Jocelyn Acor opened the scoring for Hornell, showing the Tigers why she’s the leading point scorer in Section V. After missing on a breakaway chance in the 60th minute, the senior all-star forward scored on a nice feed from Emily Wolf with 16 minutes remaining to give the Red Raiders a lead.
It was Acor’s 34th goal of the season for the Red Raiders. She is a Division I prospect who was clearly the best player on the pitch at Amherst High.
“I knew she would be a threat, the plan was to mark her then, but she just got through. She’s a nice, fast, solid player,” said Akron coach Lisa Welch.
Akron answered right back with 9:26 remaining in regulation play when junior forward Cailin Regan headed in a beautiful corner kick from sophomore Erica Papke to even the score at 1-1.
Coach Welch wished the game could have been decided on the field instead of a shootout, which occurs after two 10-minute overtime periods followed by two five-minute golden goal overtimes.
“We’d much rather be playing, but by the looks of things we could be here all night,” said Welch. “It’s kind of a tough way to lose.”
Regan and Paige Buscaglia both converted penalty kicks during the shootout for the Tigers.
The game was delayed 15 minutes with 8:13 left when Hornell defender Allison Henby was knocked unconscious before being taken to a hospital for observation.
In the Class D Far West Regional game, Section V’s Jasper-Troupsburg defeated the Ellicottville girls 1-0. It’s the same score J-T won by when the two state powers met in last year’s regional.
The Wildcats (20-1), fifth-ranked in the state, controlled the game from the start and took advantage of an errant carom off an Ellicottville player that was ruled a goal in the 53rd minute. Jasper-Troupsburg’s Kaitlin Huyler was credited with the goal that was disputed heartily by the Eagles’ sideline.
For the Eagles, who are ranked third in the state, it was their first loss since last year’s Far West Regional. Ellicottville finished the season 14-1-4 for coach Mary Neilon, who was visibly upset after the game and could only shake her head at the controversial goal.
After Huyler’s shot bounced off an Eagle defender, goalie Liz Wendel dove to her right and appeared to cover the ball before it crossed the goal line.
“She had it stopped. Did you see it in the back of the net? I don’t know how he could see it any better than she did,” said Neilon.
Wendel played a tremendous game in goal with eight saves.
“She played a heckuva game,” said Neilon. “She’s played tough for us all season.”
This loss was one of the toughest in Neilon’s 29 years as coach. Ellicottville loses 12 girls to graduation next June.
“This season was unlike most others, this was a real special group,” Neilon said. “I am so proud of my girls, they worked hard all season. It’s really tough to take today.”