The soccer teams from Williamsville North and Iroquois proved themselves the best in their respective ECIC divisions Saturday.
It just so happens that they did it in the Section VI championship games.
Williamsville North held up its No. 1 large school ranking by beating ECIC I rival Clarence, 2-1, for the Class AA championship. Iroquois knocked off previously unbeaten Williamsville East -- which had won both of the teams' regular-season meetings in ECIC II -- by a 2-0 score to win the Class A title before an estimated 1,000 on Saturday at Amherst's Dimp Wagner Field.
North (19-0-2) and Iroquois (16-2-2) will move on to next weekend's Far West Regionals where they will take on the best of the Rochester area at a Section V site to be determined.
North won once and the teams tied in the other game in their two ECIC I meetings. This time the teams took opposite roles in their matchup.
In white jerseys and shorts and even blond dye jobs topping themselves off, the taller, bulkier North team won more balls in the air and was more physical. The smaller Red Devils (17-3-2), in black jerseys and shorts, excelled at stringing short, quick passes together and displayed excellent footwork. But often their crosses or through balls ended with a thud as North defenders' feet got in the way.
"Both coaches when we walked up to each other [before the game] said there's nobody else we'd rather play," said North coach Lee Ferenc. "We knew it was going to be a great game. The amount of talent on both sides -- it's a beautiful thing. It could have gone either way. One team makes a mistake, and game over."
North grabbed the game by scoring two goals within 1:05 early in the second half.
Lars Woosidlo won a ball in the midfield and sent a pass ahead for Sean Durfee. The senior made one touch to pass a defender and create a breakaway, and, with his right foot, rolled the ball to the left corner for a 1-0 lead with 30:55 to play.
Soon after the kickoff a through ball led to another one-on-one break, this time for Andre Marinaccio. The junior powered through a defender and the goalie to get enough of a touch on the ball to roll it in for a 2-0 lead and 29:50 left. Clarence, ranked fourth among large schools, got a late goal when Mike Jurek scored with 4:47 to go but couldn't cause any more late drama.
While the AA final seemed to be a chess match of a game between size and strength against precision, the A final featured fast players and perhaps faster passes.
Senior Peter Wilson scored both goals as Iroquois overcame Williamsville East (18-1-2).
After a scoreless first half, Wilson scored 58 seconds into the second on an outstanding goal from the far right wing. The ball sailed over 6-foot-6 East goalie Brian Wallden to the back corner.
With East pressing in an often-frenetic second half, Wilson sewed up the win with an outstanding effort near the 18-yard line a little left of center. He sized up a defender, pushed the ball to the right and unleased a wicked shot to the upper right corner that was unstoppable.
No. 2 large school East beat No. 7 Iroquois, 4-0 and 2-0, during the regular season.