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High School Extra (Oct. 28): Orchard Park ends Clarence soccer run

Clarence’s six-year run as the Section VI Class AA boys soccer champion is over.

No. 2 seed Orchard Park (13-2-3) ended it with a 3-0 victory over the No. 3 Red Devils Monday in the semifinals of the sectional playoffs at Hamburg.

Noah Kohl scored on a penalty kick for OP in the first half. Early in the second half, Ryan McMaster curled a left-footed shot into the far side. Connor Saeli added the third goal, and senior Adam Hansgen recorded the shutout.

“My central defender, David Mraz, had a really strong game for us,” said Orchard Park coach Josh Danecker.

A year ago, No. 1 seed Clarence defeated the upstart Quakers, 2-0, in the Class AA championship game. “A lot of those guys from last year’s game for us were back tonight,” Danecker said.

Orchard Park never has won a sectional boys soccer title while Clarence had won or shared every AA title since 2008.

“We’ve never been able to get past Clarence. They are always the team to beat,” Danecker said.

It was no upset. Orchard Park (8-1-3) edged Clarence (8-2-2) for the ECIC I regular season title and at No. 4 was ranked ahead of the Red Devils (No. 6) in the most recent coaches large school poll and won the regular season series, 1-0-1.

Volleyball

Eden’s boys volleyball team has been waiting almost the entire season to face No. 1 ranked Canisius after losing twice to the Crusaders in tournament play.

The No. 2 ranked Raiders got their wish and knocked off Canisius in four sets before a rollicking crowd Monday night in Eden. The scores were 18-25, 25-23, 25-16 and 25-23.

“We were all pretty pumped for it,” said Eden setter Calvin Nowicki, who had 58 assists in the match. “The whole school came out dressed in white to support us.”

Eden seemed to be losing control when it fell behind, 21-16, in the fourth set, then went on a 9-2 run to win it. The turning point? “One of our middles, Shane Smith, started to take care of the net,” Nowicki said. “He had two or three blocks and a lot of kills and was really good at the net.”

Smith, a senior, finished with 13 kills and nine blocks. Declan Pierce had 19 kills and 14 digs.

Field hockey

Penny Leonard was one of the players Orchard Park coach Bridget Callahan called up from the junior varsity for the Section VI playoffs. Monday, Leonard’s goal gave the Quakers a 1-0 upset over No. 1 seed Williamsville North in a Class A semifinal at Amherst. Even more remarkable, this is Leonard’s first year of field hockey.

“She had never even held a stick until August,” said Callahan. Eighth-grader Jessie Gasek recorded the shutout.

Correction: Tess Minigell of Amherst was named Small School Swimmer of the Meet in Saturday’s ECIC girls championships. She won both the 200 and 500 freestyle races.