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Field hockey: Akron advances to state semifinals

By Tom Dinki
Special to the News

Far West Regionals Saturday produced mixed results for Section VI field hockey teams, as Akron easily punched its ticket to the state semifinals but Williamsville North and Amherst both lost nail-biters in heartbreaking fashion.

Akron (14-1) avenged a 2015 regionals loss to East Rochester with a 7-0 rout of the Section V foe in the Class C game played at Williamsville North High School. The match was never close, as the Tigers scored five first-half goals, including three within a span of three minutes and one second.

"They played just a steady game and just from the get-go said, 'We want this, we want this,'" said Akron head coach Mary Borden, who will coach her Tigers in the NYSPHSAA semifinals next weekend for the first time since taking over the program in 2003.

Akron got hat tricks from seniors Abby Stone and Rebecca Breymeier, while freshman Lydia Blueye added another goal before the end of the first half. Borden wasn’t surprised by the clutch performance from Stone, who also scored the game-tying goal for Akron in its 2-1 Class C championship game win over Barker last week. Blueye scored the game-winner in that game.

"We count on her and she steps up and does it time after time," Borden said of Stone. "She is a force. She is an absolute playmaker and she's a playmaker compared to any other team I've seen all season in Western New York."

In the Class A game, Williamsville North (18-1) suffered its first loss of the season in an overtime thriller against Webster Thomas. After junior Lauren Rabinowitz gave the Spartans a 3-2 lead early in the second half, Webster Thomas’ Mary Soures tied the game with approximately two minutes remaining. Soures then scored on a breakaway just over four minutes into overtime.

Soures "is a fantastic player. They're a fantastic team," said Williamsville North head coach Andrea Maslowski, who was trying to get her team to states for the second time in three seasons. "Sometimes that's just how the cookie crumbles. We were playing forward momentum and we were up, and then it just takes that one tip and that one break and down they go."

The Spartans got two first-half goals from Emma Roland. Maslowski noted Emma Roland and her sister Erin Roland are only sophomores, and she expects them to get even better the next two years.

However, much of Maslowski's focus was on Williamsville North's six departing seniors. With most of the team already having left, senior Lindsey Wageman took the field and knocked a ball into the net one last time as junior Kerry Gramlich stood by.

"That's what breaks my heart," said Maslowski as she fought back tears. "They’re truly a family and they did what they could and they put it all on the field and that's what I care about most."

Amherst (13-7) fell in the Class B Far West Regionals for the fourth time in five years with a 2-0 loss to Pittsford Mendon. The Tigers were in the game late, but Mendon scored its second goal to seal the victory with 29 seconds remaining.

"We obviously came up on the short end to a good team, but we're very proud of the way our team played," said Amherst head coach Laurie LeGoff. "We picked it up throughout the game and garnered attack but just weren't able to get enough support up there to finish off some chances."

Akron will play in the Class C state semifinals noon Saturday at Vestal High School.

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