St. Francis making progress
St. Francis -- the ninth-ranked large school in boys soccer -- took time out from league play to defeat a tough opponent in Lancaster, 2-0, Wednesday. Devon Monaco had the game-winning goal in the second half, while Ben DiCesare notched the shutout.
"Lancaster is a highly regarded school," St. Francis coach Mike Smolinski said. "They took the play to us in the first half, but we held on. It was 0-0 at halftime. Then we got our game going. We caught a break on a miscue, and Devon put the ball away."
St. Francis improved to 6-3-1 on the season. Coaches usually are tough to please, but Smolinski has few complaints about how his team is performing.
"We're playing really, really well," he said. "We're battling through a few injuries, so some players have to step up on the field. The team chemistry is great."
In ECIC III play, Cheektowaga and Maryvale figured to be two good teams in their division this season, and there was nothing to choose between them as they played to a 1-1 tie.
"It was a good tie," said Cheektowaga coach Jon Klein. "We were without our star player, Pablo Ordonez [illness]. It was unfortunate, but we told the kids not to get their heads down."
The Warriors played heads-up soccer for about 85 minutes, but Maryvale scored late in the game to give it a tie.
"Our division is a tough division, but we've got a nice team," Klein said. "We proved a point. You put our best player in there, and who knows?"
Depew continues its turnaround
The Depew girls soccer team hasn't looked back after a slow start. The Wildcats lost their opener to Amherst, 7-0, but have rebounded to go 7-0-1. Depew's latest win came Wednesday, a 4-2 triumph over Sweet Home in the Dan Durick Tournament semifinals in Tonawanda's Clint Small Stadium.
"We blew it all up," Depew coach Larry Jones said about the transformation after the first game. "We changed six positions, changed formations and had a little more success.
"If I were a little smarter . . . " Jones added with a laugh, implying he would have done it sooner.
Rachel Banasik had two goals for the Wildcats. That brings her total to 18 for the season and 97 for her career -- only two behind the school record of 99 set by Rachael Golonka.
"She has great speed, great ball control," Jones said about Banasik. "She can shoot it from 30 yards in. We have a couple of midfielders who get her the ball in the right spot to set up."
In the other semifinal, Tonawanda dumped West Seneca West, 4-1. Kaitlynn Moore had two goals for the Warriors.
"Kaitlynn is leading our team in goals right now. She's had 12," Tonawanda coach Julie Schork said. "She's played midfield and forward, and she's very aggressive and keeps putting the ball in the back of the net. Every time she gets an opportunity, she scores."
Schork added that her team was very excited to take part in the Durick Tournament, honoring the late Tonawanda soccer player.
"It's the fifth year that we've been doing it," she said. "We've played in it every year. He was supposed to have graduated last year, so a lot of the kids on the team went to school with him."
Depew will play Tonawanda in the final Saturday.
Will South rallies to win
In boys golf, Williamsville South rallied in the final matches to nip Clarence, 306-308, at Brookfield Country Club. The Billies had to overcome a bit of adversity early, as Clark Zhang snapped his driver and had to play most of his round with only irons.
Greg Dimock of Williamsville South was in the final group, and his 43 enabled his team to pull ahead. Seventh-grader Gregory Sibick chipped in with a 41 on a windy day in Clarence.
Both teams are 4-1. They will meet again next week at the Country Club of Buffalo.