The battle between the No. 1 and No. 2 field hockey teams in Western New York lived up to expectations.
No. 1 Williamsville North pulled out a 1-0 victory over No. 2 Iroquois in an emotion-packed ECIC contest played Friday at Iroquois. North scored the only goal of the game with 9:42 remaining when midfielder Elena Hingston sent a ball to the right post and Katie Rupp was in perfect position to push the ball into the net.
"It was like a sectional final game. It was nerve-wracking, intense, fast, it was a great game," said North coach Kris LaPaglia. "Both teams had unbelievable chances to score, but the defenses played well and the goalies played well."
With 23 seconds left, Iroquois got a penalty corner. As time expired the ball went off a North defender, so the Chiefs received a do-over. On that corner, a North player picked up the loose ball and then carried it out to the left sideline to end the game.
LaPaglia said the game had the same feel as the 2005 contest when the teams faced off as the top programs in the area. North won that game, 3-0.
North improves to 14-0-1 and has secured the No. 1 seed in Class A in the upcoming Section VI Tournament. Senior Alayna Wageman had six saves earning her 12th shutout. She's only given up three goals all season.
Frontier wins ECIC I
Drew Durni had 23 kills and Nick Smalter had 19 kills as Frontier clinched the ECIC I boys volleyball title with a win in four games over Lancaster.
The Falcons will play their last league match on Tuesday at Clarence. The league title is the second in a row for the Falcons (11-0).
"We know going into playoff it was our team goal to be sharp, and to take the title, that helps us as far as seedings and setting us up for a successful run in the playoffs," said coach Bill Faust.
Frontier (22-2) will be among the teams participating in today's Hamburg Tournament starting at 8 a.m.
Lancers serve up win
The St. Mary's girls volleyball team has beaten Williamsville North twice this season. Once when the Spartans had Nikki Attea in the lineup and once without.
On Friday the future Division I player was on a college visit and missed the match which turned out to be a win in four games for the Lancers, 25-13, 25-18, 23-25 and 25-16.
On what was Senior Night at St. Mary's, senior Olivia Zurek had 12 kills, senior Lauren Hokaj has 23 digs and senior Rachelle Kelchlin added eight kills and 17 digs.
The match featured the No. 1 large school in WNY, North, against the No. 1 small school Lancers. St. Mary's other win against North was in the finals of the Eden Tournament when Attea played.
Attea, who was planning to attend Maryland, de-committed last week. She is visiting Boston College this weekend and plans a visit to West Virginia in the near future. Tori Manzella had 14 kills and Emily Hopkins added five aces and 32 assists as North falls to 24-5-2.
"We were missing Attea, but we still played them tough," said North coach Keith Hopkins. "Our serve-receive went south in a couple games and we gave up four and five points in a row. We kept hitting free balls and you can't give St. Mary's free balls. We have to give credit to their serving, they've got some kids who can really serve the ball."
Wilson beat Barker in three games in what was its first match since clinching the Niagara-Orleans League title at 12-0. The title was the first for Lakewomen since 1990. Lindsay Bryer had 10 aces, Marcella Walck added seven aces while Anna Tuttle had six kills.
Soccer powers tie, 0-0
In what many believe could be a preview of the finals in the upcoming Section VI Class D finals, the Ellicottville and North Collins girls soccer teams played to a 0-0 tie in double overtime on Friday.
Ellicottville fired 13 shots on North Collin goalie Dez Mardino while North Collins managed three on Liz Wendel.
"We just couldn't get a good shot off," said coach Mary Neilon. "We had two shots that just went outside the post. I like the good competition [just before the playoffs]. It was a good game, up and down the field. We just need a little more precision on our shooting."
Olivia Schmidt had a hat trick and Hannah Knops had the shutout as Holland moved to 12-0 in ECIC IV with a 7-0 win over visiting Alden.
Falcons win in tennis
Senior Mackenzie Oddo and junior Brianna Fiorita of Niagara-Wheatfield defeated Rachel Hess-Catherine Wire of Kenmore East, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, to win the Niagara Frontier League girls tennis doubles championship played at Sportsplex in North Tonawanda. The NFL will send four double teams to next week's singles and doubles Section VI Championships at the Village Glen. Also advancing along the doubles finalists were Nicole Kaczor and Gretchen Ringler of North Tonawanda and Danyelle Redmond and Silvana D'Ettore of Grand Island.
The four singles players who qualified for Sectionals based on regular season league records were: Jessica Ringler (14-0) of North Tonawanda, Lizzie Barrett (10-4) of Niagara-Wheatfield, Hannah Folby (10-4) of Lockport and Sarah Bidwell (7-7) of Kenmore West.