BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
SPENCER / CANDOR - When SVEC started the season with five straight losses, things looked a little bleak for first-year head coach Abby Gentile. Then, the Eagles turned their season around.
SVEC would win five in a row and, suddenly, was in contention for a Section IV Class C playoff berth. Following a 1-0 shootout loss to Newark Valley, the Eagles needed a victory over rival Tioga in the regular season finale to qualify. It wouldn't be easy. The Tigers took SVEC to overtime in Spencer 3 1/2 weeks earlier before the Eagles prevailed, 5-4.
"It all came down to the last game of the season in which a win over Tioga was necessary," said Gentile. "The girls pulled through with a 3-2 win. It was an intense game as they knew their season was riding on the outcome, but they strung together some great passing, and tallied the game winning goal with nine minutes left in the game."
The Eagles would then turn their focus to Moravia, which went into sectionals as the No. 1 seed and looking for revenge. SVEC had stunned Moravia, 3-0, on Sept. 25, handing the Blue Devils their first Section IV loss of the season. Moravia got its revenge, however, winning 3-0.
SVEC would end the season with a 6-8 overall record, finishing in a three-way tie for second place in the division with a 6-4 record. Among the highlights were the upset of Moravia, the two wins against Tioga and a 3-1 win against Owego which avenged a 3-1 loss to the Indians 16 days earlier.
The Eagles also had a trio of first-team all-stars in Madison Sousa, Ryleigh Clark and Andrea Douglas, and two second-teamers in Cora Sousa and Isabella Young.
"This was a great first season for me as a coach," Gentile said. "I learned a lot throughout this season, especially about the resiliency of these players. After starting the season 0-5, these ladies rallied together for a 6-2 record over their last eight games - winning just enough games to qualify for sectionals.
"There is a very solid foundation for this sport going forward as we only had two seniors on the team. I look forward to the future.
IN PHOTO: SVEC's Madison Sousa was a key contributor this season.
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