Most lacrosse teams would be satisfied with just one landmark victory in a season. Silver Creek had two.
The Black Knights' season was made after a stirring, 12-11 win over Orchard Park. They took a second helping in the postseason, becoming the first Section VI Class C team to win a Far West Regional game.
The victories highlighted a memorable 16-2 campaign and helped Silver Creek land three players on the 2011 All-Western New York team. The Black Knights' high-powered offense was led by first-team selections Zeddy and Zach Williams and Frank Brown. The 14-player team was chosen by area coaches.
"Beating a powerhouse like Orchard Park was a great win, but it also let us know what we could do this season," said coach Bill Brennan. "If we could beat an OP, we could get to the Far West Regional and compete against anyone whether it's Penn Yan or Aquinas, we were on their level. Win or lose, they [OP] made us better."
Orchard Park was riding a 95-game winning streak against local competition and had won the last 16 Section VI Class A titles. Clarence made sure the streak didn't reach 17 with its own milestone win in the Class A final.
The hardest shot on the Silver Creek team belongs to Zeddy Williams. The sophomore midfielder followed last year's 101-goal performance with 99 goals and 56 assists.
"When I think of a sophomore, I think of someone maybe 5-8, 160. He's 6-2, 180, and he's very strong," said Brennan. "He can bring it. We joke about it. He'll miss the crossbar and that thing just keeps going."
Zach was the Black Knights' MVP, winning the majority of his faceoffs and contributing with 21 goals and 68 assists. Brennan called him the team's point guard, and said at times he was almost "too unselfish. Without Zach, I don't feel we go as far as we do."
After winning Class C for the third year in a row, Silver Creek beat Penn Yan in the Far West Regionals and saw its season end against Cazenovia in the Class C state semifinals.
Huge year for Clarence
The Red Devils landed two players on the first team and Mike Silverstein, in his ninth season at Clarence, was named the WNY Coach of the Year. After going 0-16 against Orchard Park in their 10-year history, they beat the Quakers, 7-5, in the Section VI Class A title game, snapping OP's streak of 16 straight crowns.
"The greatest thing about that win was the sense of accomplishment," said Silverstein. "These kids accomplished a goal they set their minds to when they were young kids."
He added that his group of seniors deserved the pride they must have in themselves for the hard work they put in.
The Red Devils also went 4-0 during the regular season against Section V teams, beating Penn Yan, Aquinas, Webster-Schroeder and Rush-Henrietta, and they picked up a win against Niagara-Wheatfield.
Seniors David DeCirce and Tom Benkovich were first-teamers. DeCirce had 41 goals, none bigger than the momemtum-swinger he scored with 2.5 seconds left in the first half against OP. Silverstein described Benkovich as that "shutdown, take-over defender we needed at times."
College careers await
Every year Section VI sends players to some of the top college programs in the country. This year's recruiting class includes Brian Sullivan of Timon-St. Jude heading to North Carolina and Eric Chadderdon of Hamburg ticketed for Ohio State.
Sullivan is No. 1-ranked defenseman and the No. 7 overall player in the country by insidelacrosse.com. He led the Tigers to the Monsignor Martin Association championship for the second year in a row. He's a four-time All-Catholic pick and carries a 97 academic average. Among his 23 goals was the game-winner in double overtime against nationally-ranked LaCosta Canyon of Calififornia.
Timon (17-4) advanced to the Catholic state title game before bowing to Holy Trinity.
"As a defenseman, we go to these elite tournaments in the summer and he absolutely dominates," said Timon coach Mike Burke. "The kid he's covering won't even have the ball."
Chadderdon was a top 25 recruit in the country when he accepted his offer to join the Buckeyes.
Kyle Zittel will continue his play at Penn State to cap an impressive career as a three-sport athlete at Eden. He was quarterback on football team, went to three state meets in swimming, is a member of the National Honor Society, is president of the student council and he wants to be a doctor. He was the Athlete of the Year at Eden this year.
"Put a task in front of him and he's going to go tackle it," said Eden coach Chris Archabald. "You can't name something that he hasn't left his imprint on."
The third annual Tom Borrelli Memorial Golf Tournament is July 27 at Holland Hills Country Club. The Borrelli Award, given to WNY's top senior player, will be presented at the dinner after the tournament.
Six players from Western New York earned US Lacrosse All-American: Sullivan of Timon-St. Jude, the Williams brothers at Silver Creek, Chadderdon of Hamburg, Zittel of Eden and Alex Govenettio of Lake Shore.
Sullivan will play for the North in this year's Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic on July 2 at Towson University in Baltimore.
This year's Academic All-Americans were seniors Nathan Kowalski of Amherst, Eric Vasko of Lockport and James Randaccio of Nichols.
Chris White of Nichols was named the recipient of the 2011 Tewaaraton Outstanding Native American Scholarship. The annual award is given to a top Native American lacrosse player who excels athletically and academically. White is a member of the Oneida Nation.
Nate Gowen of Amherst, Max Maxwell of Hamburg, Zeddy Williams and Zach Williams will represent Section VI on the adidas Regional team scheduled for next month in Maryland.
The Section VI Man of the Year is Mike Yelich of West Seneca, who has helped bolster youth programs in the West Seneca community and at East and West high schools.
SECTION VI FINALS
Class A: Clarence 7, Orchard Park 5
Class B: Nia.-Wheat. 10, Hamburg 9
Class C: Silver Creek 17, Amherst 10
Timon-St. Jude 17, Nichols 5
FAR WEST REGIONALS
Class A: Pittsford 6, Clarence 5
Class B: Irondequoit 20, N-W 7
Class C: Silver Creek 15, Penn Yan 8
NYSCHSAA STATE FINALS
Holy Trinity 7, Timon/St. Jude 5
Class C: Cazenovia 15, S. Creek 13