With Western New York Player of the Year Marissa Birzon leading the way Williamsville East won the Section VI Class A girls soccer championship last season and advanced all the way to the state final four.
Well, Birzon and the Flames are a quarter of the way to getting back to where they were a year ago. Birzon scored three times Tuesday to lead East to a 4-1 victory over Williamsville South to advance to the championship game against No. 1 seed Grand Island in Class A-1.
Grand Island defeated Hamburg, 6-0, in the other semifinal Tuesday at Williamsville North. Madisyn Pezzino and Marcy Barbaric each scored two goals for Grand Island. Ana Mascaro and Grace Stranahan also scored for the Vikings.
South took the first lead, 14 minutes into its game on a goal by Alexandra Reeds.
Birzon tied it with four minutes left in the first half and Alex Bone tallied the go-ahead goal two minutes later.
Birzon struck quickly early in the second half. "She carried the ball from our 40 al the way in and scored," said East coach Chris Durr.
Then Birzon converted a penalty kick after a hand-ball call against South on its own goalline.
East had defeated South 4-1 and 6-1 in the regular season.
"It’s always tough to play your rival and play them three times in the season," Durr said. "We expected South to come out and play well and play hard. We expected nothing less.
"We played a little scared at first then we settled down. We had opportunities in the first half before we scored."
Amherst, Lew-Port win in A-2
In Class A-2 semifinals also at Williamsville North, Quinn DeCicco scored twice and Gina Fahey had the winning goal for Amherst in a 4-2 triumph over Pioneer. Kayla Shutts made six saves to earn the shutout for the Tigers.
Lew-Port won the other A-2 semifinal, defeating Starpoint, 3-1. Lexi Lindamer, Lauren Casey and Emily Oliveri scored for the Lancers. Katelin White stood out in goal for Lew-Port with nine saves.
Lancaster boys soccer reach AA final
No. 3 seed Lancaster took down upstart, Kenmore West, 4-0, in one Class AA boys soccer semifinal Tuesday night at Sweet Home. Kenmore West had scored the biggest upset of the sectionals so far when it eliminated No. 2 seed and defending champion. Williamsville North, 3-1, last week.
Tyler Curry scored twice and assisted on two other goals for Lancaster. Jason Martin, Vito Fulciniti and Camden Gradwell had the other tallies for the Legends.
Lancaster will face Clarence for the Class AA sectional at 7 p.m. on Saturday night at Sweet Home. No. 1 seed Clarence edged Orchard Park, 1-0.
Sam Sutherland scored in the 29th minute off an assist by Cam Law in Clarence’s hard-fought victory. Clarence had won two previous meetings from the Quakers, 1-0 and 4-0.
Orie twins lead Nardin to 8-0 finish in dual meets
Twins Danielle and Gabrielle Orie finished 1-2, crossing the line together in the same time, 18 minutes, 40 seconds over a 5K course, as Nardin completed an 8-0 season in Monsignor Martin Association cross country dual meets with a 23-34 triumph over St. Mary's of Lancaster.
"It was the first undefeated season for Nardin since the late 2000s," said Nardin coach Rich Skrabucha.
This is the first year of cross country for the Ories, who have been standouts in outdoor track but had swum for Nardin during the fall sports season until this year.
"They were good swimmers but the decided it was in their best interest to run because they are high-end state level a cross country and track athletes."
The sisters recently made their early decision for college. Danielle, who prefers a city campus, recently committed to Penn. Gabrielle chose Cornell.
The meet was held on the picturesque Gow School course in South Wales because Nardin's home course in Delaware Park was unavailable.
Next for Nardin and the other Monsignor Martin runners will be the All-Catholic meet at the Knox Farm in East Aurora on Sunday, Nov. 6. The top three teams plus the three fastest runners not on those teams will qualify for the Federation meet on Saturday, Nov. 19 in Fishkill.
Nardin has not been represented at the Federation meet since 2012 and has not qualified a full team since 2008.
Senior Jacque Dirr was the third Nardin runner Tuesday, finishing fifth.
"It was a really fast race. I had never seen the course before so we were surprised," Skrabucha said.
St. Mary's top runners are former students and cross country runner at Immaculata Academy which closed last spring.
Canisius v-ball tops Clarence
Canisius, ranked No. 1 in Western New York, got ready for its final Monsignor Martin regular season volleyball match of the season against St. Francis on Wednesday by sweeping second-ranked Clarence in three sets, 25-17, 25-14 and 25-21, in a nonleague match.
Devin Joslyn had 19 kills, Griffin Schmit 12 kills and three blocks and Chaz Palka eight kills and five aces for the Crusaders. Libero Troy Gooch had a couple of aces in addition to his assists.
"It was one of our better matches," said Canisius coach. "We played really efficiently, got on them pretty quickly and played really well.
"We forced Clarence to send us some balls we could terminate. Our serving made it really hard for Clarence to ahve any kind of offense.
In another match of a team prepping for the postseason, Eden defeated West Seneca West in four sets, 25-21. 25-14, 21-25 and 25-14. Colin Rigley led the Raiders with 18 kills and six aces and Josh Pharr had 19 digs.