LE ROY — On Tuesday night the Le Roy boys soccer team suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss at Livonia, battling a tough Bulldogs squad for over 80 minutes to no avail. With the condensed Livingston Conference Division I schedule in 2020, there is no rest for the weary and the Oatkan Knights had to get right back at it on Thursday against Adam Grover and visiting Letchworth/Warsaw.
This time, Le Roy was able to get back to its winning ways.
After a sluggish start that saw them fall behind 1-0 early, the Oatkan Knights scored a pair of goals in less then five minutes late in the first half, while the defense and goalkeeper Kenny Saunders did the rest in a tough, 2-1 victory at a miserable and rainy Hartwood Park.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” Le Roy head coach Bob Hammer said. “And to give up a goal so early against one of the top players, Adam Grover, who turned in a great goal, and to show the character that these guys did, to battle back after that and come out with a 2-1 win was outstanding. It was outstanding to see the camaraderie of these guys.”
Grover, the top player in the entire LCAA, came into the night with four goals and three assists through the United’s 3-1 start and immediately made an impact on Thursday night. He turned and fired a rocket from deep on the left side that found the far post past Saunders, just 1:43 into the game that gave Letchworth/Warsaw the early one-goal advantage.
However, that was about all Grover would get the rest of the night.
Hammer would then have junior Jake Williams shadow the star midfielder for the rest of the night and Grover would hardly get another touch, and only one more shot on net in the final 78 minutes of the night.
“It was great to see. Jake has been a team guy from day one,” Hammer said of Williams. “It’s his first year with the varsity team and he’s really earned his playing time this year. When we need a special assignment he’s quick to step up. And he was willing to do it even if no one mentioned it, he just wanted to do what the team needs.”
Le Roy’s tentative start would last through the first 30 minutes of play as it would fail to register a shot on goal, while the United consistently held the ball deep in the Oatkan Knights’ end.
That was when Saunders stepped up in spectacular fashion, notching six of his 10 saves on the night in the opening half to keep Le Roy close and allow his offense to get into gear.
“They were really able to pin us in our end and the saves he made kept the game at 1-0,” Hammer said of Saunders. “And even the goal that they did score was really just a next level finish, that goal was an absolute rope into the far post. They are very well-coached. Coach Eustace has been around a long time so they were well-organized and Kenny was able to keep it close and the kids were able to lift it up and it was a great win.”
The Oatkan Knights were finally able to mount some momentum late in the opening half and would eventually knot the game at one when Ben Harrick would find the back of the net off of a rebound of a Maveric McKenzie shot with just 6:12 left in the first half.
Less than five minutes later, Le Roy would strike again with what would prove to be the game-winner.
After being taken down by a defender in the box with just 41 seconds left in the half, McKenzie would easy blast the penalty shot past United goalie Patrick Grover to give the Oatkan Knights a lead they would never relinquish.
Grover finished with five saves on the night.
For Hammer, it was just about getting over that slow start and starting to play their game.
“We have these mask breaks and we had a few minutes to talk about it and we went back to the things that we have control over,” he said. “We’re in the middle of the week, we come out a little tired, what can we do to get control over one of those things? And that’s to communicate with your teammates. And that’s something that changed.”
Le Roy, which moved to 3-1 with the win, will get a huge test on Saturday when it travels to take on undefeated powerhouse Bath.
CAL-MUM 3, MT. MORRIS 0
Three different players scored goals as unbeaten Cal-Mum (4-0) eased past a gritty Mt. Morris squad Thursday.
Garrett Thompson and Zachary Kuhn each scored first half goals to put the Red Raiders up 2-0 at the half.
Both goals were assisted by Mason Nusbickel.
Sebastian Kresge scored the lone post-intermission goal off a Thomson assist.
Cal-Mum hosts Keshequa Saturday night in a battle of unbeatens.
AVON 7, PERRY 0
Cam Salvati notched the hat trick and added an assist as the Braves coasted past the Yellowjackets.
Carson Williams also had a big night for Avon (3-1) as he finished with a goal and four assists, while Lee Hartke, Hudson Volpe and Max Bishop also found the back of the net in the win.
Christopher Kashorek stopped three shots to earn the win in net for Avon.
Perry fell to 0-4.
KESHEQUA 11, GENESEO 0
If this was a title fight, it would have been stopped very early.
Host Keshequa led 8-0 at the half and then took their foot off the pedal as they whipped Geneseo in LCAA action Thursday.
Riley Rease netted three goals and two assists while Jake Schiano and Reese Powers scored two goals apiece. Powers also had two assists.
Jordon Luther, Adam Hunt, Avery Strobes, and Ryan Thayer also scored goals for Keshequa.
Aidan Wood, Nathan Thayer, and Cesar Batlle also dished out assists for Keshequa,
The Indians have outscored their opponents 42-2 on the season.
HORNELL 2, DANSVILLE 0
This one was much closer than the score.
After a scoreless first half, Hornell’s Liam Khork and Jonas Sciotti both scored goals after the intermission as the Red Raiders got the victory.
Sciotti and Ian Ashworth added assists for Hornell.
Dansville keeper Aiden O’Conner had 12 saves for the game.
“So tonight was a fun contest between Hornell and Dansville and we’re still looking for a first win,” Dansville coach Steve French said. “We had great individual efforts tonight. We are a little slower reacting so I think that cost us at the end and I was super proud of my guys and I’m looking forward to a rematch on some nice grass.”
BATAVIA 3, GREECE OLYMPIA 2
Nick Grover scored two goals while teammate Carter Havens added one — including the game winner with five minutes left — as Batavia edged host Olympia Thursday.
Grover’s first goal came 15 minutes into the game off a penalty kick.
He added his second with 15 minutes left in regulation off a feed from Jaziel Childs.
Havens scored unassisted for the Blue Devils, who improved to 2-1.