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STAC GIRLS' SOCCER; CORNING TOPS ONEONTA 1-0 IN OT IN STAC SEMIFINALS (24 PHOTOS) (2021-10-14)

By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
CORNING — The Corning girls’ soccer team certainly has a flair for the dramatic.

Close games have become a theme. So have shutout wins, seven straight now, and Lauren Gerow always seems to find a way to come up with an overtime game-winner.

All of that stayed true on Wednesday in the STAC semifinals when Corning topped Oneonta 1-0 on a Gerow goal two minutes into the first of the two overtime periods.

“I think this was one of the most fun games we have had all season,” Gerow said. “Just with the crowd and the morale we had on the field, we were so supportive of each other.”

For Corning it’s been three straight 1-0 overtime victories, the first two over Elmira and Ithaca to earn the STAC West title, and Wednesday’s win puts them in Friday’s STAC final against Chenango Valley.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” Maddy Gill said. “Every game is an opportunity to have another one. I can speak for everyone that we are super excited we get to have it here, at home to.”

Through the game the Hawks pushed the attack on offense, generating strong scoring chances. In the second half they had one shot hit the goal post and slide by the mouth of the goal and another time Corning’s Leila Ianovici got to the ball in front of the goalie, but the goalie was able to slide out to make the stop.

For Corning they knew if they kept the pressure on, eventually one of the chances would result in a goal.

“We definitely were supportive of each other,” Gillian Mason said. “We knew if we kept getting good chances and doing the right things it was going to come. We have full faith in our defense, we say defense makes offense, so if we keep defending the chances will come and thanks to Lauren Gerow it certainly came in overtime.”

Over the three overtime wins in the past three games, Gerow had the game winner in the past two, and she assisted on the winner against Elmira.

“I really don’t know (what it is about overtime), Gerow said. “It’s just the time we are able to capitalize and all those good chances come together and make a goal and I really think it’s just our team rallying for each other.

“I know I can’t give up because if I do it will come down to a goal for them.”

Corning’s players have seen Gerow develop over the years into a player who now is one of the most clutch players in Section 4.

“Lauren has been on varsity since she’s been a freshman,” Gill said. “Every game she gets a little better, a little better and it’s not how you are at the beginning of the season it’s how you finish it. It’s really exciting to see Lauren and the rest of our attackers string it together when it matters most.”

While it felt good for the Corning players to get the goal in overtime, they knew they had to get back to work on defense for the rest of the overtimes.

“We were able to take a quick breath, but then we knew we had 18 more minutes to go and we had to play hard and not give them a chance,” Gerow said.

For the Hawks players overtime has just become a part of the game they are used to.

“We have certainly gotten really comfortable with going into overtime and having one point games,” Gill said. “It’s certainly scary at times, because any mistake could be the reason you lose. But, it also gives you the fire and reason to not have any letdowns and go hard all the time.”

Seeing 18 minutes left on the clock motivated the Hawks to finish things out strong.

“It’s definitely nerewrackiing when there is so much time left and we are only ahead by one goal, but we have a rallying cry, not letdowns,” Laura Wentzel said. “I think that’s going through all our heads and it turns us on and we bring the intensity and we know that if we are going to win we can’t let a goal in and we have to come together and keep them out of our half.”

Taylor Hurd has recorded the seven straight clean sheets in goal during the win streak, and on Wednesday she knew the pressure was going to be on in overtime, but she also had fun faith in her defense.

“I would say the worst part is when we score in overtime and there is still that much time left because I know if I make a mistake we are not winning anymore,” Hurd said. “So, it’s intense when people are coming at you over and over like that, but our defense is so amazing and I appreciate them so much. They help me so much in making saves.”

Now it’s onto the STAC final for the Hawks and they are excited to see what they can do against Chenango Valley, who beat Vestal 3-2 in the other semifinal.

“I think we are going to continue to rally for ourselves,” Hurd said. “Obviously we will be nervous and excited and all sort of feelings going into the finals, but we will have each others backs and whether we win or lose we are going to play the best we can and we are going to be proud.”

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LOOK FOR MORE ON THE HAWKS STAC WEST TITLE THIS WEEK. . .

IN TOP PHOTO: Corning's players start to mob goalie Taylor Hurd to celebrate after Wednesday's win. . . PHOTOS BY BRIAN FEES


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