Outside The Box by Chuck Walley

Girls Varsity team finishes season in solid form; Phaneuf posts another nice run in championship

The trees are almost completely bare and Halloween decorations have been sprouting all over, which can only mean one thing… the Fall sports schedule is winding down.

Still, there are Sectional outings for two of the three Varsity teams and, while the girls soccer squad didn’t quite make the playoffs, they did close their season with a bang.

That said, let’s see what’s happened since we last visited.

Boys & Girls Varsity X-Country

A huge contingent of schools was on hand for the Center State Conference Championships held on Saturday, October 22 at Ilion.

To be honest, this has been one of the strangest years on record for our runners.

Several factors conspired to prevent these athletes from establishing any consistency, whether it be practice time or having full teams at the meets.

In the end, these circumstances led to team results that, while being less than what many had hoped for, were pretty much unavoidable.

The guys, for example, have traditionally managed to place fairly high in the Conference considering the size of our school and the fact that so many of them are involved in two sports.

This year’s Championships saw Old Forge winding up in last place out of the fourteen teams competing, although there were several notable performances and personal bests along the way.

Finishing first for the Eskimos, in 70th place overall, was Lance Frymire, who has been the group’s steadiest member all season.

Following Frymire were Connor Glasser (78th), Dane Daiker (95th), Hunter Lawrence (96th), Griffin Kleps (97th), Josh Matteson (99th), and Will Johnson (100th).

The girls team fared somewhat better, finishing ninth out of twelve schools.

Maddie Phaneuf, who has shown great determination in fighting through a lingering injury throughout the season, led Old Forge with a 13th place finish.

Next in for the Eskimos was Caitlin Bailey (44th), followed by Andrea Frey (67th), Lauren Holt (73rd), and Jessica Hannah (75th).

Of course, as is the case with all sports, we often focus too much on statistics.

Win, lose, or draw, these kids made a tremendous effort all year and deserve “mad props” for giving it their all.

Boys Varsity Soccer

There was only one game on tap last week and, while the guys weren’t able to topple State-ranked Hamilton on Tuesday, October 18, they did take full advantage of the opportunity to treat it as a warm-up heading into Sectional play.

The final score of 3–1 really isn’t indicative of the impressive effort that the home crowd was treated to.

True, Hamilton did look pretty unbeatable early on, but the Eskimos stuck with it and have to feel fairly confident as they move on.

And move on they will, with their 8–5–1 regular season record having earned them a home opener in Sectionals against Madison on Friday, October 28 at 5 p.m.

Be it long underwear or windbreaker weather, be sure to show up and cheer the boys on to victory!

Girls JV and Varsity Soccer

The Jayvees had the busiest week by far and made the very most of it, much to the delight of their supporters.

It all started on Monday, October 17 as they traveled to Oriskany, finding themselves on a field that more closely resembled a mud pit.

So horrid were the conditions that the game was called after one half of play.

It did count as an official contest, however, and the Eskimos rode Allyson Brosemer’s lone goal to a 1–1 tie.

Next up was a home game against Owen D. Young on Wednesday, October 19.

This contest was also a defensive struggle, although field conditions had little to do with it.

Fortunately, Sara Carnell blasted a long drive past the ODY keeper for Old Forge’s only score—one which would hold up as the hosts would manage a hard-fought 1–0 win.

Finally, on Friday, October 21, they would wrap up their season as they welcomed Poland to the North Street field.

The trend of low-scoring, nail-biting games continued, with Morgan Payne making great use of an early direct kick for the Eskimo’s first and only score of the contest.

Later in the first half, Poland tied things up, and neither team was able to best the opponent’s goalie the rest of the way, leading to a 1–1 tie.

Now, two ties and a win to close out the season might not seem like cause for a victory parade to some, but everyone associated with the team knows how hard the girls worked in all three contests and just how important it is to finish strong, which they certainly did.

Congrats to the JV girls, who have much to look forward to in the coming years.

Of course, we were all hoping that the varsity squad would finally catch a break as they faced their final foe of the year.

That antagonist would be Westmoreland, who carried an impressive 9–4 record with them when they arrived in Old Forge on Monday, October 17.

Things started out great as Andrea Frey took a brilliant Katie Connell throw-in and drove it home for the opening score.

They would get even better when, only moments later, Daria Orekhov added an insurance goal to stake her team to a 2–0 lead.

In the end, a pleasantly stunned partisan crowd saw both Maddie Phaneuf and Haley Bush add their own goals, neither of which was necessary to down a woebegone Westmoreland squad, but both of which were wildly appreciated.

Make no mistake, though. Old Forge’s Jessica Menges was tested in goal and answered the bell time after time, logging ten crucial saves on the day while earning a 4–0 shutout.

So, it ends here for the varsity girls, but they walk away knowing that they really were a far better team than their record might indicate.

Kudos to the entire squad and the best of luck in the upcoming winter sports season to you all.

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