Amherst, Barker, Clarence are field hockey champs - The Buffalo News

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Amherst, Barker, Clarence are field hockey champs

It took well over an hour of play Wednesday to determine the Section VI Class B field hockey championship.

The Class A and Class C champions identified themselves sooner.

Amherst outlasted Iroquois, 1-0, in double overtime, to win its first sectional title since 2009 on its home turf at Dimp Wagner Field.

Top-seeded Barker built an early lead in beating No. 3 seed Eden, 3-1, to win the Class C championship for the sixth straight season and eighth time in nine years.

In the tripleheader nightcap, No. 1 seed Clarence scored three minutes into the second half to beat second-seeded Orchard Park, 1-0, for its first Class A championship since 1986.

The three Section VI champions all advance to Far West Regionals on Saturday at Medina High School.

No. 1 seed Amherst (19-0) expected a defensive struggle against second-seeded Iroquois (17-2) after winning the regular season matchup, 2-1, on a goal with three seconds left in regulation.

After 72:30 of scoreless play in the rematch, McKenna Rushford scored on a backhand shot off an assist from Missy Mallon to give Amherst the victory.

“It was déjà vu of the last time we played them,” captain Taylor Balser said. “We knew going in that it was going to be a battle and we were going to have to work our hardest to compete with this team.”

“It was an improvement from the last game,” said senior goalkeeper Yanna Boggio, who made seven saves in the shutout. “I didn’t have as many shots. The defense really helped me and the offense picked it up in overtime.”

Amherst enjoyed home-field advantage and mild weather in the opening game. Barker and Clarence benefitted from neither.

Steady rain and strong winds didn’t slow down the Red Raiders (15-1) at the start. Brooke Bodine put Barker ahead 11 minutes into the game and Olivia Denny’s goal off a corner penalty shot made it 2-0 with 16:18 left to play in the first half.

“One of our problems this year is that we don’t always get off to a good start,” Barker coach Jeff Costello said. “We came out really strong today, we were in their end right away, we got two goals within the first 14 minutes of the game and that put them in a bad spot having to play catch up.”

“During warmups, we were really into it, really pushing each other,” Denny said. “It makes it a little more intense playing in the rain. It can be a challenge, but it makes us push each other harder.”

Gabriella Clare scored Barker’s third goal five minutes into the second half. Abby Waldorf put Eden (9-9) on the board with 10:24 left to play.

“It feels good, but this isn’t what we want,” senior captain Heather Mason said. “We want to go all the way.”

The rain fell even harder at the start of the Class A title game, which led to a sloppy first half.

“The girls talked about what they wanted at halftime and they dug down deep and they played a great second half,” said Beth Brawn, Clarence’s first-year head coach.

Giovanna Fasanello set up Kasey Thur on the winning goal for Clarence (14-3), and Lauren Mortek earned the shutout.

“We have 12 seniors on this team and they lost to Williamsville North last year so you know they wanted it bad,” Brawn said. “They really wanted their blue patches.”

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