Kaley Chase’s goal on a pass from Hannah Saggese 12 minutes into play held up as Milford won the Tri-Valley League East Division girls soccer title for the fourth straight year with a 1-0 victory Monday over Cherry Valley-Springfield.
“Hannah brought the ball up the middle, and she drew the goalie and defender toward her,” Milford coach Chris Saggese said of his daughter. “Then she just laid it off to Kaley, who put it in. It was a beautiful thing.
“The way this team has been,” he continued, “our motto is ‘it is amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.’ That’s a John Wooden quote. It didn’t come from me. But this team has embraced it.”
The Wildcats (14-1, 12-1) will play West Division winner Morris in the crossover final Saturday at the Wright National Soccer Campus. It’ll mark the fourth straight year the teams have met in the Tri-Valley League final.
Chase, a senior forward, had trouble recalling the details of her goal. When the sequence of events were relayed to her – Saggese’s penetration that drew CV-S goalie Kylie Chase away from the goal and then a pass to the left -- Chase smiled.
It’s the Milford way.
“That’s what we do,” she said. “We know where one other is on the field, where to move off the ball. It makes it so easy for us to be in the right place at the right time. It makes for a lot of beautiful combinations that lead to a lot of beautiful goals.
“In a way, it isn’t fair to give just one player an assist on goals,” she added. “We’re always working together as a team and the success we have is a credit to all of the players on the team.”
Milford beat CV-S (12-2-1, 10-2-1) for the second time this season, but unlike the first win Sept. 13 at Cherry Valley, where the Wildcats jumped out to a 4-0 lead and won, 4-2, the Patriots stayed in it all night.
“Cherry Valley has a lot of seniors,” coach Saggese said. “They had a lot to play for tonight and it showed. I give their team a lot of credit. They had a lot of heart out there and it showed in the way they played.
“You know the other game was 4-2, but we had two goals go in on corner kicks where the wind took the ball into the goal,” he continued. “Without those two plays, it was a 2-2 game. And today it was a close game too.”
In the second half, CV-S was the aggressor, coming close on shot after shot.
Three Patriots shots sailed over the goal, one by Lauren Loucks and two by Chelsea Zembower. Another shot by Zane Ashford, following a corner kick by Jordan Loucks, hit the cross bar and bounced over the goal.
“That’s the way the game goes,” CV-S coach Amy Garretson said. “We didn’t get the bounces.”
Still, Garretson smiled. She said she couldn’t have asked for more from her squad.
“I feel like that was kind of the Tri-Valley championship tonight,” she said, “with the two best teams in the league out there on the field. We had our shots. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck. But we have nothing to be ashamed of. We’ve had a great season and we are going to continue to have a great season in the section playoffs.”
Meanwhile, Milford and Morris will renew their rivalry Saturday. The Wildcats beat the Mustangs in the 2010 final en route to a Section Four Class D title. The teams tied in the 2011 and 2012 crossover finals.
Morris won the sectional title in 2011 and shared the sectional crown with Franklin last season. The Purple Devils represented Section Four in last season’s state playoffs after winning a penalty kick shootout.
Milford defeated Morris, 1-0, on Sept. 20.
“Morris is a very talented team,” Saggese said. “They have a lot of talented girls. They play soccer all year long and that makes a huge difference. It is going to be a battle.”
Milford 1, CV-S 0
CV-S 0 0 — 0
Milford 1 0 — 1
CV-S (12-2-1, 10-2-1): None.
Milford (14-1, 12-1): Kaley Chase 1-0; Hannah Saggese 0-1.
Shots-corner kicks: C 16-6; M 14-7.
Goalies: Kylie Graham (C) 3; Rukiye Henderson (M) 1.