ONEONTA — Twenty extra minutes did nothing for the Morris and Milford girls soccer teams Saturday at the Wright National Soccer Campus.
“Defense — that was the story of this game,” said Morris coach Rhoda Flint, whose team played Milford to a scoreless tie in the Tri-Valley League championship game for the second straight season. Unlike last season, though, this final featured a pair of 10-minute overtime periods.
“Today, both teams played well,” Flint continued. “You don’t mind a tie today because neither team deserved to lose.”
Defending Section Four Class D champion Morris (12-1-3) had more late scoring chances — including one gasp-inducer with a little more than three minutes to go — but Milford goalie Rukiye Henderson and the rest of the Wildcats defense turned virtually everything away.
Milford sweeper Francesca Green had a lot to do with that, clearing a bunch of Morris advances to midfield and beyond throughout.
“She has a great knack for the ball,” Milford coach Chris Saggese said. “She knows how to read passing lanes. She’s just a very good soccer player.”
Flint said she had prepped her team for the Wildcats senior.
“I told our team to keep the ball away from Green,” she said. “But every time we got down there, she got it away from us and cleared it. In the second half, I think we did a better job keeping it away from her.”
That’s when eighth-grader Serena Chase stepped up for Milford. She stopped three Morris drives in the last 15 minutes of regulation, including two corner kicks with chest saves. The other came with 3:24 to go in regulation, clearing a rebound shot by Kelsea Webster that Henderson initially knocked down but failed to cover.
“Serena had a very good game,” Saggese said of Chase, who briefly left the field after a hard fall but returned for the extra periods. “She had to mark Amanda Flint, who is a dangerous player, and she really stepped up today. She did a tremendous job.”