For 50 minutes, Milford’s plan to slow down defending Section Four, Class D champion Cherry Valley-Springfield worked well.
Unfortunately for the host Wildcats, the two varsity boys soccer teams played for 80 minutes on Monday, with the Patriots overcoming a slow start to stay undefeated with a 2-1 victory.
“They came out very intense against us,” CV-S coach Terri Adams said of the Wildcats, who packed their defense and clogged the passing lanes. “I thought we held onto the ball too long early. Once we started regrouping and passing the ball the way we practice, the lanes opened up and we were able to play our game.”
With a soggy field, and a sharp game plan, Milford played the aggressor for the first 20 minutes. The Wildcats couldn’t get the ball in the net, but they kept the ball away from CV-S early and kept the action in the Patriot area.
CV-S began to turn the momentum in the last 20 minutes of the first half settling into the one-touch, short-passing game that is its trademark.
Four times toward the end of the half, the Patriots came gaspingly close to getting a ball past Milford goalie Parker Fish. One ball hit the crossbar, another sailed just over it, a third hit Fish and then the post and bounced out and one got past Fish only to be cleared by the defense.
Late in the half, Milford had two good shots at the Patriot goal, both on long balls by Peyton Griffiths, but both carried over the goal.
“We both had our chances and we both got a little lucky the way the ball bounced,” Milford coach Frank Spurchise said.
In the second half, CV-S regained its form. The Patriots scored with just more than 11 minutes into the half. Kyle Jaquay headed a corner kick from Wyatt Crowley over Fish and into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
Milford almost tied the game two minutes later, but Eli Rutledge’s line drive long ball hit the cross bar and bounced safely away.
With just more than 15 minutes left in the game, CV-S struck again. Crowley hit a long ball that Fish knocked into the cross bar. It bounced back onto the field to Noah Russo who beat Fish for a 2-0 lead.
Milford scored with 9:26 left in the game on a penalty kick from Griffiths. The referee called a takedown from behind on Elijah Lyons and gave him a yellow card for a play inside the box.
Griffiths shot on the ground to the left. CV-S goalie Jon French guessed correctly, and dove at the ball, but couldn’t make the play.
“There were too many bodies in the way for me to see,” Adams said of the call, “but with the muddy field, I think maybe he just lost his footing.”
Griffith’s goal was only the second French and the Patriots have given up all season. The first came in the season-opener against Unadilla Valley. In between, CV-S has posted eight shutouts.
“They’re a very talented team,” Spurchise said. “I thought we played them even the first half. We made it exciting late with that goal.”
The Wildcats’ attempts at a tying goal fell flat, however, and CV-S was able to keep the ball out of its zone and deflect the pressure.
The two teams will have a rematch Tuesday at CV-S. Milford (6-3-1,6-2-1) hosts Bainbridge-Guilford on Friday; CV-S (10-0, 8-0) is at Richfield Springs on Friday.
Cherry Valley-Springfield 2, Milford 1
CV-S 0 2 _ 2
Milford 0 1 _ 1
CV-S (10-0, 8-0): Kyle Jaquay 1-0, Noah Russo 1-0, Wyatt Crowley 0-2.
Milford (6-3-1, 6-2-1): Peyton Griffiths 1-0.
Shots-corner kicks: C 11-7; M 6-5.
Goalies: Jon French (C) 4; Parker Fish (M) 7, Max Lang (M) 0.