WILLIAMSVILLE – The Section VI field hockey championships on Wednesday in Williamsville had a little bit of everything. Revenge was found in Class C, a new champion was crowned in Class B, while a title was defended in Class A.
In Class C action, the top-seeded Akron Tigers (13-1), who graduated 10 seniors from last season, got their revenge and stunned powerhouse and defending champion – the No. 2 Barker Raiders (13-2) – with two goals in a two-minute span late in the second half to take the 2-1 win at Williamsville North High School. It was only fitting the final was 2-1, as the two teams split 2-1 games against each other in the regular season.
“Tenacity, if there’s one word to describe this team it’s tenacity,” Akron head coach Mary Borden said.
Only 2:18 into the second half, it appeared that Akron’s sectional dreams would not become a reality as Barker’s Katrina Clare opened the scoring. But Akron, which had the script flipped on it in the 2016 sectional final when Barker pulled the 1-0 upset on a prior undefeated team, returned the favor.
Akron pulled the win off on their Niagara-Orleans rival with an Abby Stone tying goal with 12:09 remaining and then the game-winning goal with 10:17 left. Both came off corners with the winner being credited to Lydia Blueye as Blueye got the final touch on a ball which floated over Barker’s back line.
In Class B, the No. 4-seeded Amherst Tigers (13-6) put the cherry on top of their season as it defeated the second-seeded Williamsville East Flames by a 1-0 scored after beating top-seeded and defending champion Iroquois, 2-1, in overtime last round.
The Flames pushed the offense for a majority of the second half, but LeGroff credited goalie Julianna Ellis along with defensive efforts from Tillie Boggio, Hannah Bardeen, and Rachel Banning with helping the Tigers claim the title at Williamsville North.
“There’s a reason they say defense wins championships,” Amherst coach Laurie LeGoff said.
However, just enough offensive contribution had to come from somewhere as the Tigers scored off a corner 17 minutes into the second half when Casey Adimey assisted on Grace Maley’s eventual game-winning goal.
In Class A, it was Williamsville North claiming the title and staying undefeated (18-0) at Williamsville South High School with a 1-0 nail biter over the Clarence Red Devils (14-4).
After a series of early corners which Clarence successfully defended, the Spartans finally found the back of the cage on a corner with 12:17 remaining in the first half. After the ball was put into play, it bounced around the Clarence scoring circle and Erin Roland’s shot was deflected and went to Jordan Cooper, who scored.
North head coach Andrea Maslowski said there were just a couple of nerves after the Spartans failed to score on their early corners, three of which occurred in the first 10 minutes.
In fact, Maslowski said her team saw the importance coming. She indicated there was a belief in the Spartans locker room that the title was going to come down to a one-goal game.
“It always takes us a few, last round against Lancaster we had horrible luck at corners so that’s what we drilled the most the last couple of days and luckily we scored off one,” Maslowski said.
The Far West Regionals for all three classes will take place on Saturday at Williamsville North. Class C and B action is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start with Class A slated for 4 p.m.