By Marshall Haim
Special To The News
It took a while but Olean finally can add a class title next to its name again.
A pair of first half goals by Justine Brooks aided the seventh-seeded Huskies to their first class title in 21 years with a 3-0 victory over the No. 4 seed Albion on Saturday at a soggy and windy Williamsville East.
Dan Freeman, Olean’s head coach, said the 21-year wait was long and the victory isn’t just for those on the team but for the entire Southern Tier region.
"I feel like we’re representing our region," Freeman said. "It’s nice for Olean, we haven’t had this in a long time. It’s nice to represent the region."
As for the pair of goals by Brooks, it was her first multi-point game since recording a goal and two assists in the team’s second game of the season, an 8-1 victory over Ellicottville on Sept. 5.
Brooks is finding the scoresheet at the right time as the senior has six points (four goals, two assists) in her last seven games.
"Justine’s been really starting to come into her own in scoring," Freeman said. "Calista’s [Heister] our goal scorer but then I think Justine is right up there. I think she gets overlooked a bit because she tries to feed the ball to Cal as well. She’s come up big for us."
Heister extended her already impressive goal scoring lead in Section VI when she scored her 56th goal of the season just 37 seconds into the second half. It was the 124th point of the season for the Virginia Tech commit. She has a goal in eight straight games and in 18 of Olean’s 20 games this year.
Reagan Stitt and Alexis Gibbons both had one assist in the win. Stitt increased her Section VI lead in assists (34) on Brooks’ second goal.
Kayla O’Connell recorded her sixth clean sheet for the Huskies in the victory, stopping six shots.
Olean (17-2-1), the B-1 winner, will play B-2 champ Allegany-Limestone in a battle of the Southern Tier in the Class B crossover game Tuesday at Williamsville North at 5:30 p.m. The reigning Class C state champion Gators came out on top over
Fredonia, 6-0, behind two goals from Kaitlyn Higby, Grace DeCapua and Alyssa Spring.
It was the third time Allegany-Limestone and Fredonia played this season. The Gators (16-2) won the previous two meetings over the Hillbillies in CCAA West action, 6-0 and 9-1.
Higby opened the scoring 15 minutes into the first half. She scored the first of five goals just three minutes into the second half. DeCapua and Spring each scored twice in the latter half.
Spring now has 33 goals on the year, which ranks second only behind Heister. It was Spring’s fourth consecutive game with multiple goals and was her 11th such game of the season. She has recorded a point in 13 straight games.
"They’re very skilled players, good shooters and we’ve worked on shooting and got better," Allegany-Limestone head coach Dale MacArthur said regarding the trio of goal scorers. "There were a couple of shots tonight because we’ve worked on them. We have a number of weapons offensively and good ball control."
Kelly Gullo made a season-high 15 saves for the Hillbillies (10-7-2).
This will not be the first meeting between the two Cattaraugus County schools, as they meet twice prior on Sept. 14 and Oct. 1. The series was split with the road team winning each time. Allegany-Limestone won the most recent contest, 5-1, after dropping the opening match in overtime, 5-3.
"They’re playing really well right now. It will be a lot of fun and only a fool would predict an outcome of that game," MacArthur said. "We won one and they won one. They caught us on a bad day and we caught them on a bad day. It’ll be a good battle."