Women's Soccer Preview

It's been a record-setting year for some members of the Genesee Community College women's soccer team.

Now they'll see if they can take the next step.

GCC begins play in the Region 3 Tournament this weekend and will host ninth-seeded Cobleskill at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The Cougars are seeded eighth.

If GCC wins, it will play Tuesday at top-seeded Herkimer, which defeated the Cougars 1-0 at GCC Oct. 3 and sports a 15-1 record.

"(A potential matchup with Herkimer) is going to be a rough game, but we're had worse scores," GCC coach Stephanie McManus said. "Our girls had their best game of the season when we played (Herkimer)."

The regional semifinals and finals will be played Oct. 30 and 31, respectively, at Jefferson Community College. The nationals are at Mohawk Valley Community College.

Defending national champion Mohawk Valley is the second seed for the 12-team tournament, followed by Clinton, Cayuga, Broome, Corning, Hudson Valley, Genesee, Cobleskill, Niagara, Erie and Morrisville.

McManus was busy Thursday trying to get more information about Cobleskill, which is 7-5 coming into the game.

"I've got a lot of homework to do," she said.

If Cobleskill does its homework, it'll find that the Cougars are one of the hottest teams around. GCC is 11-5-1 overall, 7-0-1 in its last eight games and 8-1-1 in its last 10.

Included in that run are forfeit wins over Tompkins-Cortland and Jefferson. But take those games away and the Cougars still are on a roll.

"We're finally meshing as a team. Everything's finally coming together while we're preparing for postseason play," McManus said.

Of the 17 players on the GCC roster, only five are sophomores.

"We're just so young this year. They had to make the transition to playing the college game," McManus said. "I knew what kind of a team they were, but they kind of came out of their shells against Herkimer."

The Cougars have received breakout seasons from a pair of record-setting freshmen, midfielder Adrienne "A.J." Wells and forward Jen Cavanaugh.

Wells, a Byron-Bergen graduate, broke single-season GCC records for goals in a season with 24 (Shannon Gill and Batavia product Terri Torcello shared the old record of 21) and points in a season with 54 (Gill's old mark was 51).

"Adrienne has really been a key player for us, especially in the last few games," McManus said. "She's been kind of our go-to player and is finishing really strong."

Cavanaugh, a product of Notre Dame, has 17 assists, eclipsing the former record of 15 set by Michelle McIntyre. Cavanaugh also has notched 14 goals, giving her 45 points.

"The two of them (Cavanaugh and Wells) play well off each other," McManus said.

Among the Cougars' other top offensive players are Batavia grad Fallanne DeLong (five goals, five assists), Samantha Curry (five goals, three assists) and Tashina Abrams (four goals, two assists).

Also leading the way for GCC are midfielder Jessica Cutcliffe (Pavilion), sweeper Val Zarcone (Byron-Bergen), defender Mindy Kilby (Pavilion) and goalkeeper Erin Tosh (Pavilion).

"(Cutcliffe) is pretty strong," McManus said. "Stat-wise, it doesn't show. But she plays outside midfield and she stops everything outside for us."

GCC suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to Canton in the first round of the regionals last year. The Cougars hope this season's regionals are kinder.

"We're looking at one game at a time," McManus said. "We can't get too far ahead of ourselves."