WEST SENECA — When teams play each other more than once in a season, they both have a good idea of what the other team is going to try and do to win.
Playing for the third time, No. 2 Southwestern and No. 3 Allegany-Limestone knew each other very well coming into the Section VI Class B2 semifinal boys soccer game at West Seneca East High School on Monday. It was no surprise the Trojans would rely on both Connor Young and Seth Vaughn for its offense, and even then the Gators had no answer as Southwestern stormed out to a dominant 7-2 victory.
“We always have to come out charged up and ready to play Allegany-Limestone,” Southwestern head coach Jason Deering said about the game plan. “We knew what we had to do today, we knew we had to come out on fire. We had to jump on them real quick and get that in their head, and the guys came and did what they needed to do.”
One thing Southwestern knew coming in against Allegany-Limestone (11-5-0) is that you never have enough goals. So the plan was to come out strong early and build a big lead.
That’s exactly what the Trojans did when they scored five goals in the first 17 minutes. Connor Young opened the scoring with a beautiful free kick in the seventh minute and just 22 seconds later he finished off a nice run to make it 2-0.
Then, after Young’s second tally, it became the Seth Vaughn Show. In the span of just six minutes — from the 11th minute to the 17th — Vaughn slotted three goals to give the Trojans a commanding 5-0 lead.
“Once I scored the first one, I was like I want more, I want another one,” Vaughn said about his performance. “We have a really good team and I just hope we can go as far as we can.”
Vaughn first finished up a beautifully flicked ball by Young. Then, his second was thumping home a Young rebound, and his final tally was from what he does best — using his speed to make the defense and goalie panic — for a free empty net goal.
“It’s Allegany-Limestone, we can’t let down,” Deering said about needing every goal. “If we put up five in one half, they can put up five in one half. We just make sure we sell that during halftime when we have those type of talks. We came out and wanted to think it was 0-0 still. Some people would think that unsportsmanlike, but we know what these guys can do. When we started letting up, we start making mistakes, so we’re not going to let down.”
Southwestern brought a 5-0 lead into halftime, but even then the Trojans knew they needed to keep the pressure on Allegany-Limestone. Vaughn added two more goals to finish the game with five and added a little more comfort in Southwestern’s quest for a finals berth. Young finished with two goals and two assists, Vaughn added an assist and Grey Kidder picked up an assist. Jonas Gessing made six saves in net.
Even after jumping up 7-0, just like Southwestern knew Allegany-Limestone would, the Gators’ offense showed up in the second half. In the 60th minute, Cooper Wilczewski converted a free kick from a tricky angle where he picked the opposite corner on a perfect shot. Then, just a little while later, Tommy Buffamonte finished a corner kick with his head to make it 7-2.
While Young and Vaughn continue to find their names on the scoresheet with the glamour stats picking up assists and goals, it was a complete team effort to get them the ball and keep Allegany-Limestone at bay for so long.
“They do put up the goals, but they can’t do it just themselves,” Deering said about his team. “Our midfielders, our back four, they’re constantly looking for those two, trying to get them on the other side of the back four on defense. We know what they can do and the team does an absolutely terrific job winning the ball quick and getting it to them so they can do what they can. So they get the glamour stats, but I have got to give props to the kids behind them. Without the rest of that team, Seth and Connor can’t do what they do.”
Last season the Trojans were able to knock Allegany-Limestone out of the playoffs in the semifinals, but came up short in the final. If Southwestern (16-1-0) hopes to capture the Section VI Class B2 title against No. 1 Lafayette (16-0-0) on Friday at West Seneca West High School at 5 p.m., it will need another complete effort.
“Tenacity on defense,” Deering said will be critical in their sectional final on Friday. “Yeah, we have Seth and Connor, but what really gets us flying is that defense and how quickly we get that ball back to send them flying again. It’s the tenacity on defense, we need that. Everything we do intensity-wise has to be on point.”