St. Mary's cashes in
The St. Mary's volleyball team had one more chance to beat Eden this season and the Lancers made the most of it Thursday. After losing their first four meetings, the Lancers edged Eden in five close games. The match was dubbed Eden-St. Mary's V, but it was more like Rocky V, according to St. Mary's coach Donnie Pieczymski. He said his team delivered the TKO when Jessica Warner blocked Heather Henry for match point.
"It was two talented teams going after each other, but it was our blocking that was the difference," he said. "When you play a great team like Eden, I'm not going to say you have doubt, but you're a little unsure of yourself. But we never lost confidence, never stopped believing and just kept fighting through it. It was definitely our turn to win."
Setter Elyse Texido had 46 assists and 21 digs and Allyson Severyn 19 kills, 26 digs. Warner added 17 kills, five blocks and Kelsey Polanski had five blocks.
One game, one goal
The championship of the Niagara Frontier League in girls soccer came down to one game, and that game came down to one goal.
Kenmore West got that goal. The Blue Devils won, 1-0, over Grand Island in the final regular-season game to take the title. Both teams entered the game with identical 11-0-2 records.
Cristina Ippolito had the goal for Kenmore West, scoring from close range.
"She went all out," coach Jen Gilham said. "She had a first effort, then a second effort, then a third effort -- she would not give up. It was about being relentless and pushing through."
At the other end of the field, Melissa Pawlowski had the shutout.
"My defense, they backed each other up, time after time after time," Gilham said. "When one person missed, the rest of the team swarmed to the ball."
Elsewhere, Williamsville East rallied to beat Iroquois, 3-2, in overtime, to clinch its seventh straight ECIC II title and extend its league winning streak to 45. Iroquois jumped to a 2-0 lead after the first 14 minutes.
Neha Bakhai scored the game-winner on an assist from Katy Griffin with one minute to go in the second OT. East's first goal was scored by eighth-grader Lauren Randaccio. East tied the game with five minutes left when Tara Kiernan scored on a header, again from Griffin.
Barker won its fourth straight Niagara-Orleans championship, beating Medina, 2-0. Rachel Anderson had the shutout for Barker, which finished unbeaten in the league for the third straight year.
Perfect record, again
It was business as usual for City Honors in girls volleyball. The Centaurs wrapped up a perfect season and a regular-season championship with a three-game win over Hutch Tech. Natalya Burgess had 24 assists, while Natalie Fouthard had 11 kills and Sherrell McLean added eight kills.
It's the 23rd straight year that City Honors has not only been undefeated (12-0) in league play, but hasn't lost a game in that span.
In boys play, Canisius won its ninth consecutive Monsignor Martin Association title, sweeping St. Joe's. Alex Mendez and Jeremy Luchey had 10 kills each for the Crusaders.
Nardin getting even better
Nardin can't complain about the way its cross country season is going. The Gators defeated Sacred Heart, 15-50, on Thursday at Cazenovia Park to improve its record to 4-0.
What's more, Nardin is getting deeper and better.
"Elise Johnson, our captain, had been hurt until last week," coach Matt Donahue said. "She hadn't taken a step in six weeks. She was the 3,000-meter track champion at the all-Catholic meet."
Johnson joins Kitty Mahoney, who won Thursday's race, Molly Munschauer and Laura Garbes on the list of the Gators' top four runners.
Rivals set to square off
While most of the division races are pretty much set, don't tell the area's high school football players that this week's games don't matter. That's because it's Rivalry Week, which means plenty of emotion and intensity.
The games start tonight. Alden hosts Akron with some team accomplishments at stake. The fourth-ranked small school Bulldogs are hoping to finish the regular season 7-0; they have not allowed a point in more than four games.
In the Harvard Cup, Bennett will play Riverside at All High at 5 p.m. At 3-1, Bennett has a chance to scramble the standings with a win. Meanwhile, Riverside is tied with Grover Cleveland at 4-0 atop the league standings.
Then there are the other games: Williamsville East at Williamsville South, Albion at Medina, Dunkirk at Fredonia, Depew at Lancaster, Hamburg at Frontier, North Tonawanda at Tonawanda, Pioneer at Springville and West Seneca West at West Seneca East.