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Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY - Freshman Kennedy Westbrook drove a shot into the back of the net with 3:07 remaining in the first half to lift Waverly to a 1-0 win over Newark Valley here Friday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in the quarterfinals of the Section IV, Class B girls soccer playoffs.

For the Lady Wolverines, now 14-2, it's the third win of the season over their IAC South Large School rival, but the first two were by scores of 4-1 and 6-1.

Waverly coach Tara Hogan said there were a few reasons for the much more tightly-contested win.

"Newark Valley played with a lot more energy today," she said. "Lucky for us, we are familiar with them.

"A lot of it came down to having no healthy subs. Even the one sub I had is nursing a groin injury ... one has a concussion, and another is on crutches.

"And, I think the loss on Saturday was also a factor," said Hogan in reference of Waverly's 1-0 loss to Dryden in the IAC Large School Championship game. "We are in our own heads a little too much. At some points, I think were playing a little intimidated."

Perhaps the biggest reason, noted Hogan, was the Lady Cardinals playing a more defensive brand of soccer, especially in the first half.

"They had two center-mids hanging back, so that really cramped our style.

"I pushed Gabby (Picco) up to center-forward for a while in hopes of working on our feeds because the entire first half we just kept trying to put the ball in the air, and (NV) having those really tall defenders, nothing was getting past them," said Hogan.

Westbrook's goal came off a feed from junior Gabby Picco. It was a rocket just under the cross bar and into the back of the net.

"The play was an incredible combination of some amazing passes," said Hogan. "Gabby could have easily scored it herself, but she dropped it to Kennedy who had the better angle.  

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, watching Kennedy play with such incredible energy is so fun to watch," noted Hogan. "She always wants the ball and wants to be involved in everything...exactly what we need."

While Waverly controlled the action in the first half, Newark Valley had the upper hand in the final 40 minutes.

"We were on our heels at times in the second half," said Hogan.

"Kait (Clark) played a great game, especially the second half. She was way more aggressive, coming off the line and getting involved," she noted. "And, Cora Smith had another great game hustling to cover for her teammates.  She was able to get involved in some offensive plays as well.

"Tessa (Petlock) and Bella (Romano) continue to hold down the flanks of the field," added Hogan. "And, Alyvia Daddona and Hayleigh Moran continue to improve on positioning and playing with confidence."

Waverly had a 18-7 advantage in shots-on-goal and a 3-0 edge in corner kicks.

Clark had seven saves in net for the Lady Wolverines.

Second-seed Waverly will host third-seed Oneonta Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in the Class B semifinals.


IN PHOTO: Waverly's Kennedy Westbrook. ... PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.

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