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Southern Tier Sports Report
OWEGO — Elmira and Owego battled to a deadlock for nearly 70 minutes before the Express eventually distanced themselves for a 3-1 STAC girls soccer victory here Wednesday night.

"It was a good battle," Owego coach Heather Chrysler said. "We knew going into it it was going to be a tough match-up and that's what we need to get ready for sectionals."

Elmira finally broke a scoreless tie with 23:44 remaining in the first half when Emily Hanrahan put in her own rebound. Indians goalkeeper Delany Carrigg came out of goal to block the initial shot but it came right back to Hanrahan.

The lead would hold up until 6:11 when Carmen Jorgensen took a pass from Cadia Fain and sliced it past Express keeper Delaney Malone, who had come out of goal to challenge.

The score would remain 1-1 through intermission as both defenses dictated play.

Finally, with 10:51 on the clock, Mia Capilli scored from close in on a feed from Hanrahan to make it a 2-1 contest.

Owego wasn't about to go away, but with 3:14 to go in the game, Hanrahan fought off pressure from the Indians' Alex Aubel to tack on an insurance goal. As Aubel went crashing to the turf during the play, Hanrahan completed a left-to-right cross to push the lead to 3-1.

Hanrahan's footwork was impressive and she highlighted a solid display of passing and possession by the Express.

"We've been trying to do that like for weeks at a time now, and sometimes we do, and sometimes we don't, but actually it's funny. I just got done telling them that I thought that was one of the best games we passed the ball in quite some time," Elmira coach Zach Sarno said. "I was very pleased by that and I think they know that too. We moved the ball and passed the ball a lot better than we have in some games this year, so I was really happy with that."

"Excellent forward. Excellent striker. She was fast. She moved the ball well, she had a great shot," Chrysler said of Hanrahan. "There were a few fast breaks that they capitalized on those opportunities."

The challenge came at a good time for both teams as they prepare for sectional play.

"Last year, obviously we played in the spring and we made this spring as successful a seasonal as it could be, but certainly it was tough when we've been lucky enough and fortunate over the years to have STAC playoffs, or, obviously be in sectionals," Sarno said. "Come the end of a successful season, I mean we were lucky enough to get 13 games in the spring and won 10 games, then get to the end of season, and it's like, for as fortunate as we've been to be pretty good for a while, it's kind of a little bit anti-climactic. So, certainly to be able to have that (challenge)."

"Overall I thought they played well," Chrysler said of the Indians. "I think that there's things that we need to improve on ,and we'll take this and learn from it, but yeah, this was a good competition for us to prepare us for sectionals."

With a smaller number of teams in Elmira's classification, the Express will have a little more time to prepare for the postseason.

"We've got some things to work on and get tuned up, and we'll do that over the next week or two," Sarno said. "And we've got like a few little knocks and injuries here, so that gives us a little time to get healthy as well."

Elmira is the defending Section IV Class AA champion and still has Hanrahan, Malone and Tierney Krawczyck back from that team.

"We were well aware of those three girls," Chrysler said. "They, they played really well and they're a tough team."

"We've got several girls that we brought up from JV that year at the end of the season, but the mainstays that were on the group, Tierney, Emily and Delaney, they were the three mainstays of our roster that season and three starters for us. To be able to say they were freshmen the last time they were able to play sectionals and then now to be able to come back to it, it's a nice thing to have."

The Express (9-5-1) will host Troy, Pennsylvania in the regular season finale Monday.


IN PHOTO 1: Elmira's Olivia Henry. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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