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Massena’s Valancius takes on all foes, even her mother

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MASSENA — On Sept. 22, Massena’s Dominique Valancius played in a 3-2 loss at Salmon River and proceeded to get a ride home in the car of the opposing coach.

Salmon River’s coach just happens to be her mother, Kathy, who guided her team over her daughter’s Red Raiders’ squad that day.

“I was mad at her at first, but then I just kind of got over it, because I knew I played well,” said Dominique, who scored both Massena goals that afternoon.

Said Kathy, “Dominique played super against us. I explained to her it was a unique situation. Other than (former Parishville-Hopkinton boys soccer coach) Jerry Aiken, there has never been anybody that had their kid playing in the same league as them.”

The Shamrocks’ win was one of the rare times that Kathy Valancius was able to see her daughter play live. Most of the time, she catches up with her daughter’s games on videotapes shot by her husband, Ed.

But mother and daughter are fine with the fact that they live separate lives when it comes to sports.

“I would like to have her as a coach, but I wouldn’t because she’s my mom,” Dominique said. “I’m not really sure.”

The person who does get to coach Dominique is Massena’s Ryan Hayes, who was happy to see the junior become a team captain prior to the start of the season.

Valancius is tied for fifth in scoring in Section 10 with seven goals and three assists in six games, and she’s scored either a goal or an assist in all but one game this season. She’s produced two goals in Massena’s last two games.

“She has definitely been an instrumental part of our wins,” Hayes said. “She was an obvious choice for captain, which was voted by teammates and myself. She’s gotten better every year. She’s just a great finisher and knows how to score.”

Valancius was brought up to the varsity midway through her eighth-grade year and was put to the test right away. Her first varsity game was against Potsdam, a team that has fought for the Northern Athletic Conference Central Division title every season of her career.

“One of the players that was playing forward was hurt, so I was starting in place of her,” Valancius said. “I was nervous, but it was really fun. After that game I got so comfortable with everyone. The play was much quicker. The girls knew where the ball wanted to go and were very vocal and the game was more intense.”

Valancius does not limit her soccer to just Massena. She spent the summer playing on a club team in Canada, the Nepean (Ontario) Hotspurs and has competed on other teams since before she was in high school.

“I knew she was a good player and she would help us,” Hayes said. “I knew she was a good athlete and I knew she was something special.”

Kathy Valancius also knew there was something special about her daughter, but she was glad to see others notice the same attributes.

“It’s tough to coach your own child,” she said. “You always have more expectations of your child than you have for the rest of the team. We’re looking at good things for Dominique. She’s done very well. She’s a great, rounded kid. She likes to do a lot of things. One thing I’ve heard from everybody is she’s a doll to coach. She never talks back. Those are things, as parents, we like to hear. She’s not just good at sports, she’s good at a lot of things.”

Said Hayes, “School is very important to her. She’s always accepting criticism and ties to get better. She knows where she’s at she wants to play at the next level. She’s a student of the game. That’s what’s helped her grow as a player.”

Dominique said she wants to play NCAA Division III soccer, but has no particular schools in mind. Her career goal is to become a physical therapist.

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