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DISTRICT 4 PLAYOFFS: DEFENDING CLASS A CHAMP MILLVILLE TOO MUCH FOR SAYRE (12 PHOTOS) (2020-10-27)

By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
MILLVILLE — Top-seed and two-time defending District 4 champion Millville proved too much for eight-seed Sayre here Tuesday afternoon in a 12-0 win in the opening round of the Class A playoffs at Miller C. Ludwig Memorial Stadium.

“I thought we played a pretty good first half. We held them scoreless for a while … then they opened it up, and we had some defensive mishaps,” said Sayre coach Greg Hughey.

“(Millville) is very skilled and very technical. Give credit to them, they’re a very good team,” he noted. “I thought overall we showed a lot of grit and determination today.

“We came down here today, having never been here before, and I thought we showed up. We just wore out in the end.

“I’m just glad we made it,” added Hughey. i”I’m proud of my team.”

Millville, which won a state title in 2018, had a 32-2 advantage in shots-on-goal, and had at least 15 more that sailed just wide or high of the net. The Quakers also had an 8-2 edge in corner kicks.

The Redskins held the powerful Quakers scoreless for nearly 23 minutes, but with 17:13 remaining in the first half Blake Evans fired a hard shot from about 15 yards out that Sayre’s sophomore keeper Cole Gelbutis knocked down, but couldn’t handle.

Aaron Hack was Johnny-on-the-spot for Millville and drove the rebound into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later, Cole Laubach dribbled through several Sayre defenders and slid a shot underneath a charging Gelbutis to make it 2-0.

“I thought we were all right after the first (goal), but the second one kind of took the wind out of our sails,” said Hughey.

About 2 1/2 minutes later, Hack took a beautiful cross in the middle of the box from Ian Ludwig and punched a shot past Gelbutis to make it 3-0.

With about 7 1/2 remaining in the first half, Micah Savidge took a shot from long range that deflected off a Sayre defender. He retrieved the loose ball a few yards closer to the net, and fired a shot into the upper-90 to make it 4-0 — a lead the Quakers carried into the halftime locker room.

Before Millville’s offensive onslaught began, the Redskins had an opportunity to get on the board first.

In the fourth minute, sophomore Brayden Post controlled a throw-in, and slid a pass to junior Mason Hughey in the box, but it was knocked away by a Millville defender. Hughey and the Quaker keeper both charged to the ball, with Hughey able to poke it away from him.

Millville’s keeper was then whistled for tripping Hughey, resulting in a penalty kick. Unfortunately for the Redskins, senior Cody VanBenthuysen’s PK attempt sailed high.

The next 18 minutes of the game, the Quakers peppered Gelbutis with shots. He handled nearly all of them cleanly. On the two occasions he didn’t, freshman Alex Campbell and senior Connor Young were there to clear the ball out of the box.

Gelbutis recorded 18 saves in net for the Redskins.

Millville iced the game with eight second-half goals, including three more by Laubach, and two by Dyllan Klinger.

Hughey took over the Redskins prior to last season. He directed them to three wins, an improvement over the 1-win season in 2018. Sayre went 5-9 this season, and qualified for the postseason.

“From where we came from, to where we are today, I think we’re coming along,” said Hughey.

If Hughey’s Redskins are to keep the trend going, they will need to replace five seniors: Cody VanBenthuysen, Connor Young, Ji Huang, Patrick Franqui, and Grant Smith.

“We got a taste of life without Cody (VanBenthuysen) this year when he broke his arm,” said Hughey. It was awful nice to get him back.

“He’s been a four-year starter, noted Hughey. “He’s a big ball-handler, we’re going to miss him.

“We are going to miss Connor (Young) and Ji (Huang) in the back. They’ve been our aces back there  shutting things down for us in the middle of the field. That’s going to be a big gap for us to fill.

“I’m glad we were able to get here for him, and Connor (Young) and Ji Huang,” added Hughey.

Franqui and Smith were first-year players, but both contributed, said Hughey.

(Peter) Franqui has come a long ways. He just started playing soccer this year, if he had started as a freshman, I think we would have a very good player.

“Grant (Smith) just started playing with us the last few games of the season, and did a nice job,” he said.

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IN PHOTO 1: Sayre’s Cole Gelbutis. … PHOTOS BY DAVID ALLIGER — TRAVELING PORTRAITS.


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