St. Mary's of Lancaster, the No. 1 ranked girls volleyball team among small schools in Western New York and considered No. 1 overall, needed five sets Wednesday night to avoid a Monsignor Martin Association upset at Sacred Heart. The Lancers won last set (29-27) after the Sharks had tied the match by winning the fourth (25-18).
Sacred Heart wonthe first set,25-16, before the Lancers came back to win two in a row, 25-22, 28-26.
"It was an old-fashioned barnburner," said St. Mary's coach Don Pieczynski. "They came out strong against us. That's for sure. They put us on our heels early, and we had to claw back."
Pieczynski called the close win "a dose of reality."
"We needed it," he added. "They are a dangerous team, right on our heels. It was good preparation for the playoffs."
St. Mary's swept three sets in the first meeting of the teams, but they Sharks gave the Lancers stiff competition in a 25-18, 25-22 and 25-18 loss.
Summer Slade led St.Mary's (26-3-3, 8-0 Monsignor Martin) with 33 kills and Jillian Vitale had 60 assists. It was the third league loss for Sacred Heart.
No. 2 ranked large school Williamsville East also faced stiff competition before winning in four sets at Hamburg, 25-19, 16-25, 25-23, 25-11.
Makayla Wright had 38 assists and five aces for the Flames (10-2, 10-0 ECIC II). Ally Jozwiak had 21 kills for East.
"Hamburg gave us all we could handle. That's for sure," said East coach Scott Wright. "Once we got through the stiff challenge we responded well."
Cheektowaga football wins $10,000 grant
Cheektowaga football was among 10 recipients of a $10,000 equipment grant as part of Riddell's Smarter Football Program, the school was informed on Wednesday. The competition was open to programs as far northwest as Alaska and south as Florida. More than 700 teams from various levels applied for the grant.
Three high schools, two middle schools, a club organization, a prep school and three youth programs each earned a portion of the $100,000 grant from manufacturer of protective gear, including football helmets. Winners were chosen based on a team's commitment "to player safety, personal and team development and overall advancement of the sport, on and off the field."
"It comes as a pleasant surprise (to be selected)," Cheektowaga athletic director Brian Hickson said, "but certainly there's a lot of need in our program. ... It's a really awesome opportunity."
Hickson said one of the school's employees, Kristin Bartnik – mother of recently graduate and first team All-Western New York quarterback Eric – crafted the letter on the program's behalf to Riddell. Hickson said the money will help with of replacing old helmets.
Cheektowaga entered this season looking to reach its fourth straight Section VI Claass B final. It reached the state semifinals in 2014 and 2015.
The Warriors, 5-1, are tied for the Class B-1 Division lead with rival Maryvale. The teams meet at Maryvale on Friday.
Lockport volleyball goes to 12-0
It's still a week away, but one of the highlight matches of the Western New York boys volleyball season will be next Wednesday's clash between No. 1 and undefeated Lockport against No. 2 Canisius at Lockport.
Wednesday, coach Liz Smorol's Lockport Lions won their 12th match and extended their record to 9-0 in the Niagara Frontier League with an impressive 25-14, 25-15, 25-19 sweep of Grand Island.
"It was one of our best defensive nights. We had a ton of blocks," said Smoral. The Lions had 18 blocks, 32 total kills and 40 digs as a team.
"We were just on our game. Everything went well, everything we've been working for all year," Smoral added.
Zach Schneider had 13 kills and 12 digs and Mark Bixby added seven kills and 19 assists for Lockport which has three games left in NFL play. The Lions have a Friday match at Niagara Falls to think about before they can concentrate on Canisius.
Lacrosse Classic scheduled for New Era
Champion Lacrosse will host the third annual 3National Lacrosse Classic at New Era Field on Saturday and Sunday. Middle school and high schoool players from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Ontario will play showcase some of the top American, Canadian boys lacrosse prospects.
The Middle School Divison games (high school classes of 2022 and 2023) will play on Saturday and Junior Varsity (2020, 2021) and Varsity (20018, 2019) will play on Sunday.
In addition to host Champion, teams participating will include Team Buffalo, Hamburg, Blaze Rochester, Edge Ontario, Grand River Ironmen, Hill Academy, Iroquois Western Door, Performax, Pittsburgh Elite, Rhino Lacrosse and Tribe Lacrosse.
Each team will get at least one game on New Era Field. Sunday's Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions will play some games at Erie Community College South.
Delisanti, Falcons win NFL golf
Freshman Anthony Delisanti was medalist with 3-under-par 69 in leading Niagara Wheatfield to its fourth straight Niagara Frontier League golf title on Tuesday at Willowbrook Golf Course in Lockport. The Falcons extended their win streak to 68. Delisanti was five strokes in front of runners-up Noah Codd of Niagara Wheatfield and Jaxon Hummel of North Tonawanda, who each shot 2-over 74.
Hoops Showcase in Pittsford
High school basketball players will have an opportunity to display their talents in front of college coaches at the Upstate New York Hoops Showcase on Sunday Oct. 22 at Nazareth College in Pittsford. The event will run from noon to 4 p.m., and the registrtion fee is $70. The showcase is designed for high school players who hope to continue playing at the college level. More than 40 college coaches from New York and Pennsylvania have committed to attend. There will be skills stations as well as scrimmages and a seminar on the college recruiting process. The registration fee includes a showcase jersey and NCAA recruiting materials. For information call John Serafine at 585-330-0103 or visit www.hoops-showcase.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.