The Greece Odyssey boys soccer team defeated No. 6 Penn Yan 1-0 on Wednesday to earn a repeat trip to the Class B finals. The second-seeded Leopards will face top-seeded Livonia in a rematch of last season’s championship game.
Zach Buchholz netted the lone goal of the match less than four minutes into the first half, finding the back of the net on a deflection on his shot from the right side of the field. Greece Odyssey (12-4-2) kept the pressure on Penn Yan for much of the game but was unable to break through for an insurance goal. The Mustangs were held to a limited number of chances until late in the game when both teams adjusted their formations.
“I thought we did a great job of keeping the pressure on all game,” said Greece Odyssey’s Scott Mikulski, who is in his first year as head coach of the Leopards after heading the Greece Arcadia program for 10 years.
The Leopards were able to limit the scoring opportunities for Penn Yan (12-7-0) for all but the final five minutes of the game when the Mustangs began to press forward in search of the tying goal. Greece Arcadia used its size as well as the individual defensive play of Jake Dixon to slow down Penn Yan’s leading scorer Geoffrey Rouin, who posted 18 goals and 20 assists on the season.
“He is a special player,” said Penn Yan head coach Jon MacKerchar of Rouin, who is the school’s record holder in points and assists in a season. “We moved him up to forward to try to free him up a little more but we just couldn’t break through. After giving up the early goal our defense really dug to never allow that second goal, they refused to give in.”
Despite just a one goal victory Greece Odyssey commanded the game on both sides of the ball for nearly all of the game. Heath Walker and Adam Wilkins joined Jake Dixon in locking down the backfield for the Leopards while Austin Visca, Angelo Visca and Connor Cooper helped lock up possessions with their speed up front. Jamie Magone recorded eight saves to earn the shutout in net.
“We had quite a few chances to get another goal,” added Mikulski. “The guys did a great job of keeping possession and working for good shots. We pulled a forward back in the final five minutes but up until that point we were really on the attack.”
Page 2 of 2 - Penn Yan finishes the season at 12-7-0 and were second in the Finger Lakes East with a league record of 8-4-0.
“This is a hard working group of players who gave it their all tonight,” added MacKerchar. “We have six sophomores on the team who saw significant playing time so we will have high expectations again next season.”
Greece Odyssey advances to the finals to face No. 1 Livonia on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at HF-L. The Leopards and Bulldogs were named sectional co-champions in 2012 after playing to a draw through two overtimes in the title game, with Livonia advancing to the state tournament on penalty kicks.
“I am sure the guys who returned this year from last season’s championship team will be extra motivated to win the title outright,” Mikulski added. “We have formed a new game-plan for each of the first two sectional games and we will get to work quickly on another for Livonia.”
Livonia earned a spot in the title game with a win over Hornell in the semifinals. The Bulldogs 18-0, ranked No. 1 in New York State in Class B and have outscored their opponents 93-4 on the season.