Amanda Edwards and Katie Frizzell make it easy to identify some of the top young soccer players in Western New York.
As freshmen last year, Edwards of Williamsville North and Frizzell of Tonawanda led their respective leagues in scoring and were named second team All-Western New York. Pretty heady stuff for a pair of 14-year-olds.
Edwards led ECIC I with 23 goals while Frizzell tied for the ECIC III lead with 20 goals. Frizzell earned fifth team All-state honors in Class B. Both girls are honor roll students.
Edwards has been a starter on the Spartans' varsity since eighth grade. "She is very dedicated to the sport and she is a true striker," Williamsville North coach Dan Greiner said. "She knows how to score and she can carry the ball the length of the field if she has to. She knows position and can finish. It's nice to have her back as a 10th grader."
Edwards and Frizzell pooled their talents this summer playing on Germania Galaxy, a premier select team for players 15 and under. It was while playing for Galaxy that Frizzell tore her anterior cruciate ligament, but she was determined to be ready for the start of her high school season. She was.
"I went to kick the ball and it popped on me. It was painful, but I'm back," Frizzell said.
Edwards and Frizzell are just two of the bright lights in Western New York soccer. Here's a look at some of the others:
Three All-WNYers return
Three girls who were named to the Coaches All-Western New York team return: seniors Lindy Krakowiak (Clarence), Rosie Luzak (Lewiston-Porter) and Katie Paradise (East Aurora).
Krakowiak is a dominant midfielder who tallied six goals and seven assists last season. Luzak is a third team All-State pick and two-time All-WNY selection. Paradise is also a two-time all-WNY player and has more than 100 goals in her career. She's a four-year ECIC IV all-star who has led her division in scoring the past three years.
An ideal season for Luzak would be to help Lewiston-Porter repeat as Section VI, Class B champion and become the Lancers' all-time points leader. Luzak already holds the school record for most goals in a career with 78. What she's eyeing now is the record for most points in a career. With 117 points (goals plus assists), she is 16 shy of 1996 graduate Ann Maria Destino. The record is certainly within reach as she finished with 20 goals last season.
Joining Luzak as a returning starter for Lew-Port are Kristin Muoio, Ashley Chassar, Gillian Smith and Haley Mercer.
Muoio is one of eight second team All-WNY players who are back along with junior Maria Atti (Kenmore East), senior Kara Sweeney (Hamburg), senior Jessica Bickett (Lockport), senior Jen Feher (Depew), senior Lindsay Mislin (Tonawanda), Edwards (Williamsville North), and Frizzell (Tonawanda).
Ellicottville soars to title
Section VI has won two state soccer titles in its history and both belong to Ellicottville. The Eagles added last year's Class D state crown to the one they won in 1990.
The village of Ellicottville celebrated its state title in a way coach Mary Neilon said she never experienced before. "We got treated pretty royally," she said.
This fall there are plans to install road signs north and south along Route 219 in recognition of Ellicottville's title. A banner was raised in the gymnasium, and proceeds from a Community Night went toward the purchase of jackets for the players. A parade with a fire engine serenade greeted the team upon its return from the tournament.
It was Katie Zariczny who scored the goal as the Eagles edged Poland (Section III), 1-0, in the final. Goalie Jessica Bingerman earned her 17th shutout. The good news for the Eagles is both Zariczny and Bingerman return from the 22-1 team.
Joining Zariczny and Bingerman as keys to this season are Dani Brogcinski, Lynn Halloran, Kristen Hintz, Heather Lindell and Karen Hintz.
"You can say I lost seven starters, but we had a lot of depth last year," said Neilon, who is entering her 15th season. "I have a good core back, that's for sure, but we may go through some growing pains."
The Cattaraugus County school is the fifth smallest in Section VI with 160 students (grades 10-12). If the Eagles win the sectional title this season it will be their 14th crown in the past 15 years.
Allegany-Limestone was another Western New York team to play for a public school state title, but the Gators bowed to Cold Spring Harbor (Section VIII), 3-1, in Class C.
Three starters return from the team that finished 22-2: senior Brianna Eaton, senior Melissa Medinger and junior Stacie Potter.
"We have five players off that team that are playing in college, so we lost a great deal of experience," coach Dale MacArthur said. "We have a lot of playoff experience returning, but it's their first time playing on their own and we're going to struggle with those roles for a while."
Nichols earned the state title in the Alliance of Independent Schools, beating Hackley of Tarrytown, 4-1, in the title game. The Big Green returns seven starters, including seniors Julie Rackl, Lindsay Aquilina, Sara Ward and Alison Drake.
"We scrimmaged a bunch of good teams. I'm really impressed with how hard our kids are working," coach Larry Desautels said. "Everyone's gotten better."
A three-peat for Nardin?
Nardin is shooting for its third MMA playoff title in a row after beating Mount Mercy for last year's title. All-Catholic first teamer Ashley Murphy has recovered from the injury to her ACL during the basketball season. Senior Jackie D'Orazio helped Nardin to a third-place finish in the Catholic State Tournament.
Holy Angels, which tied with Nardin for the regular season title, has seven starters back, led by All-Catholic center/forward Jenny Dannecker and goalkeeper Libby Brooks. Other All-Catholic first teamers returning are: junior Julie Kowzan (Sacred Heart), Beth Grey (Mount St. Mary's) and Ana Jasen (Buffalo Seminary).
Wilson is riding a 37-game league winning streak and is shooting for its fourth consecutive Niagara-Orleans League title. Two of the three returning All-WNY honorable mention picks are from Wilson: Christine Goodman and Meredith Reid join Logan Hadzicki (Portville). . . . Senior Nicole Olszewski of Lancaster, an All-WNY first-teamer as a sophomore, returns. She has a school-record 70 goals in her four-year career . . . Teams finishing the season ranked among the state leaders were Ellicottville (first, Class D), Allegany-Limestone (second, Class C), Cattaraugus (seventh, Class D), Lew-Port (10th, Class B), Wilson (11th, Class C), Kenmore East (14th, Class A), Grand Island (16th, Class B) and Clarence (20th, Class A).