It was another successful kickoff to the high school boys soccer season as 16 teams played over two days at the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament hosted by Sweet Home.
The two-day invitational has been going on for at least eight years, Sweet Home coach Ryan McCaffery said, with this year sporting the largest number of participating schools. Admission was a voluntary donation, suggested at $2, with all the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. The event has raised a total of around $30,000 since its inception.
“It’s becoming a huge event and well received,” McCaffery said. “I was standing at the gates for a while to see if the volunteers needed any help. Our suggested donation was $2 but people were putting $10 and $20 in, saying not to worry about change. Many of the officials were donating the refereeing fees to either the American Cancer Society or Roswell.”
Grand Island goalkeeper Steven Pufpaff was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after he made 15 saves, including saving a penalty kick, in a 1-1 tie with Lancaster on Friday. But Williamsville North defeated the Vikings, 3-0, Saturday to end Grand Island's 42-game unbeaten streak against Western New York competition.
Anan Murali from Williamsville North was the recipient of the Sportsman Award.
Other highlights from Saturday’s games included a 5-5 tie between Hamburg and McKinley. Hamburg trailed 5-1 at halftime and rallied with four second-half goals to earn the draw.
Kenmore East made an early statement with wins of 7-0 (vs. West Seneca West) and 9-0 (vs. North Collins). Host Sweet Home won 3-0 over North Collins and 2-0 over West Seneca West, with all five goals scored by Lucas Marshall.
“It’s 16 school districts coming together, whether it’s a couple thousand dollars or a total of $30,000, to raise money toward a really worth cause in the American Cancer Society,” McCaffery said. “It’s a great way to start the season with some competitive soccer.”
Lockport captures title
Jesse Donorovic took home Most Valuable Player honors as he helped the Lockport Lions to a three-game win over Canisius in the finals of the Clarence Tournament.
Lockport defeated Canisius, 25-20, 20-25, 15-13, in the opening tournament for boys volleyball.
“This absolutely sets the tone for the rest of the season,” Lockport coach Elizabeth Smorol said. “Even if we lost, Canisius is a perennial powerhouse. We came in knowing that. We were the underdog. My boys knew they had to play tough all day. The didn’t buckle at any time in the final.
“They played level-headed and just never gave up. Both my setters controlled the flow of the game and moved the ball around. Everyone contributed to the win because everyone was putting the ball away.”
The Lions advanced after a semifinal win over West Seneca West, 25-19, 25-15, while Canisius edged Eden, 28-26, 13-25, 16-14, to reach the final.
Zach Schneider was also on the tournament’s All-Star Team along with Troy Gooch and Matt Donnelly from Canisius; Drew Hesse and Collin Rigley from Eden; and Nicholas Pozzuto and Jack Breen from West Seneca West.
There were 16 teams in the tournament advancing out of pool play. Orchard Park defeated Cheektowaga in the Silver Bracket final while Iroquois defeated St. Francis in the Bronze.
Frontier takes title
Frontier kicked off its boys soccer season by winning its own tournament. The Falcons defeated Cheektowaga, 3-0, in the championship game of the Frontier Tournament. Alex Hiam, Camron Walsh and Jack Schmittendorf all scored for Frontier (2-0).
City Honors defeated Eden, 3-0, in the consolation game.
The All-Tournament team included Dylan Herstek (City Honors), Sebastian Flewellyn (City Honors), Brandon Gregoire (Eden), Patrick Guddihy (Eden), Ryan Moretta (Cheektowaga), Alec Zimmerman (Cheektowaga), Dan Novak (Frontier), Camron Walsh (Frontier), Jack Schmittendorf (Frontier), Jonathan Czjaka (Frontier), Jonah Kozak (Frontier).