Poland fans split for states


POLAND, N.Y. (WKTV) - In the town of Poland, soccer is king over all other sports and this fall has been extra exciting as both varsity teams are heading to states this weekend.  It's the first time since 1998 that both teams are going to the final four in the same season.

"it means everything to this community," says girls head coach Tom Basel.  "You drive through you can see the soccer balls posted on the telephone poles, they have dinners for the teams on a regular basis, it's a real rallying point for the community."

"I started soccer when I was three years old, so I've wanted this for so long," adds Brianna Goggin, a senior midfielder for the girls team.  "This is my second year on varsity, but we haven't been to states, the girls, since '98, so it's big."

"The whole town gets into it," says Mark Shelhamer, a senior striker for the boys.  "It's fun, in school us and the girls have a little rivalry going all year, who's going to have the better record by the end of the year, who's going to go farther and we're both still going."

The fans are in a bind this weekend, as the boys are playing in Middletown, down state, while the girls are in Cortland.

"It's going to be tough this weekend because they're going to have to choose, they're not going to be able to make both games," says boys head coach Greg Haver.  "Last weekend we were fortunate enough with a little bit of hustle, getting in the car after our game, they were able to make the girls game."

But the hope is that least one of the two teams will win it all, because no Tornado team has done it before.

"Everybody would remember it for years and I'm so excited that it's my senior year that it's possible," says girls senior midfielder Brittney Green.  "We're right in the reach of it, so I just want it to happen so bad for both of our teams."

"I think if both teams were to win state championships, Poland would be shut down for the whole week, it would be one big party," adds boys senior back Nate Casper.  "It's never happened here, it would be nuts."

The boys play in the Class D semis Saturday at 12:30 against Chazy from the Twin Towers field.  If they win, the Tornadoes would play in the championship, Sunday at 12:30 from Faller Stadium.

The girls play in the Class D semis Saturday at 2:30pm against Jasper-Troupesburg from Homer High School.  If the Lady Tornadoes win, they'd play Sunday in the Championship at one from SUNY Cortland.

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