Dale MacArthur has seen his Allegany-Limestone girls’ soccer team crying after losses to Holland for the past three or four years – he can’t remember which because it had felt so long since his squad’s last win against the Dutchmen.
But his team cried after its Class C final against Holland Friday night for entirely different reasons.
“It’s good to see the happy tears,” said MacArthur, Allegany-Limestone’s head coach.
The No. 2 Gators broke through to defeat their rival, No. 1 Holland, 2-0, for the Class C Championship at Pioneer Central High School’s field Friday.
In the Class D final afterward, Ellicottville defeated Pine Valley, 3-0, behind a dominating performance.
Both teams will go on to regionals next Friday at Niagara University.
“They were nervous coming in. I’ve been telling them, ‘You can play with anybody. You just have to believe it,’ ” said MacArthur, who got his 400th career win earlier this season.
“We want to be just as good as Holland and tonight we were.”
And it was evident just how much the win over its rival meant to the Gators.
MacArthur turned away from the scoreboard and said “How about that?” to himself as the final buzzer sounded and his players embraced each other with tears of joy.
The game was a stalemate throughout the first half, with few scoring chances in a scoreless game – until the Gators’ Danielle Spring did something about it.
Spring scored both of her team’s goals in a span of less than three minutes in the second half.
Her first came with about 30 minutes left in regulation and the second came on an almost clean break to the net just a few minutes later.
Spring said her first goal is what gave her “more energy” to score the second just minutes later.
“Danielle scores in big games,” MacArthur said. “She’s not the fastest girl out there, but she can shoot with either foot.”
Behind two early goals, No. 1 Ellicottville got past No. 3 Pine Valley. The Eagles got scores from Morgan Zlockie and Jenna Aldrich within the first 13 minutes and Brenna Cole capped off the game with a goal in the final minute.
Head coach Mary Neilon said the Eagles were hoping to score early because they wanted to make a statement against Pine Valley’s physical style of play – which resulted in several collisions and penalties throughout the game.
Aldrich, who scored just seven minutes after her teammate Zlockie, said the team was nervous at the start, but the early goals allowed them to ease up and play their game.
And that game might be enough for Ellicottville to have some success at regionals next.
“I can see us going far if we play the game I know we can play,” Aldrich said.