By Melissa Brawdy
Special to The News
Lafayette entered this year’s playoffs stripped of their league wins, down several players, and reclassified due to an illegal merger situation. Lafayette came away from Sweet Home High School on Friday night with a Section VI Class D Championship after a 7-2 win over Pine Valley.
“We were down a lot of players, obviously,” Lafayette head coach Brad Brodnicki said. “I have a small team now, but I told them to stick with it. Stick with it and be strong and play for everyone else, even the ones that couldn’t play. They showed up today and did really well, so I was really proud of what they did.”
Lafayette took an early lead in the first half thanks to two goals by Mee Reh in the first nine minutes of the game. He finished with four.
“He did great,” Brodnicki said. “He’s been great for me all year – one of my superstars, and he showed again today what he can do, so it was good to see.”
“It feels good to be here,” Reh said through a translator following the game. “The more I score, the more I’m happy.”
Toe nay Soe added to the Lafayette lead with 14:18 left in the first half before Reh scored his third and fourth goals. Harmar Sa and Eid Dirir added goals for Lafayette in the second half, and although Pine Valley found the net twice late in the game, Lafayette did enough to secure the win.
One of Lafayette’s lost players was its goalkeeper, and Milan Rai has since been pushed from defender into the starting goalie role. His defenders were strong in front of him, and he made the saves necessary for his team to win.
“Obviously, someone had to play, so he stepped up and he did pretty well,” Brodnicki said. “Going forward from here is gonna be more difficult obviously, but hopefully we can work at that and keep going. My defense is pretty strong, so that helps.”
It helped enough for a Section VI Championship.
“I’ve thought about” tonight’s win, “but I want to try more to keep going,” said Reh.
In the late game, Dylan Talbot has won a Section VI Championship all four years of his high school soccer career. He scored twice to lead Allegany-Limestone to its fourth Class C Championship in as many years, 5-0, over Westfield-Brocton.
“It’s mind-blowing, honestly,” Talbot said. “To think of a team that can get us here back-to-back-to-back-to-back is pretty outrageous.”
Junior Sam Flanders, who finished Friday’s game with a goal and two assists, couldn’t have been happier for his teammate.
“This one means everything,” Flanders said. “It’s all for Dylan. It’s his senior year. I did this one for you, buddy.”
Allegany-Limestone head coach Jon Luce commended the leadership of Talbot and Flanders.
“They’ve just been leaders all year,” Luce said. “They step up. They take the team and throw ’em on their back, and tonight was the same thing.”
He went on to praise the hard work and dedication of his entire team from day one.
“Even after we finished last season, the kids were just ready to go,” Luce said. “It’s easy to coach when you have kids who want to play all the time.”
Allegany-Limestone and Lafayette advanced to the Far West Regionals in Spencerport next weekend.