Teams from Hutch-Tech and Olmsted made local history Tuesday when they competed in the first varsity boys volleyball matches between Buffalo Public Schools.
For the record, coach Jason Prophet's Hutch-Tech team won in four sets, 25-16, 26-24, 18-25 and 25-21 before a small but enthusiastic crowd of supporters for each side at the Engineers' gym.
"It was an electric atmosphere," said Prophet, a teacher's aide at Hutch and assistant varsity basketball coach. The crowd was into it and so (were) the teams."
Prophet, a Kenmore East graduate whose background in the sport is mostly on an informal or recreational basis, championed the offering of the sport at Hutch last year. The Engineers played a nine-game schedule in their first season, winning once over Kenmore East and participating in the Section VI playoffs.
"I wrote the proposal, took it to the district. They went over and accepted it and (Buffalo Schools athletic director) Aubrey Lloyd, got it started," Prophet said. "I thought there was a void for athletes who don't play football or soccer and I think we've stumbled on a good rivalry with Olmsted."
Hutch-Tech will play a 16-match varsity schedule this season and its varsity and junior varsity teams will compete in the Kenmore West tournament on Saturday.
Some of foreign-born team members played volleyball in school in their native countries, but competitive volleyball is new to most Hutch players born here.
Junior Cameron Johnson , who had five kills and three blocks, and Oliver Ngarukiy, who had six blocks and three kills, led Hutch's victory on Tuesday. Johnson is a shot-putter on the track team. Ngarukiy, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, is a basketball hopeful.
"The local volleyball community has been super-welcoming," said Prophet, who along with his team picked up some practice tips from Sweet Home coach Rick Cicero at their preseason scrimmage.
"He showed us some practice drills and the players loved them," Prophet said. "It was awesome of coach Cicero to do that."
Unfortunately, volleyball fever hasn't taken the city schools by storm yet. City Honors and Lafayette were supposed to field varsity teams this year, which would have made a four-team Public Schools League. However, the two schools were unable to field a team this year and their games were canceled.
Frontier goal wins, ends Hamburg shutout streak
Tuesday night's boys soccer match between Frontier and Hamburg captured the imagination of townspeople and the local soccer community even though it was a nonleague match.
Jonathan Czajka scored with 34 seconds left in the first
half to end Hamburg's seven-game shutout streak, and the goal stood up for a 1-0 Frontier victory in a battle of ranked teams. Hamburg is ranked No. 2 in the latest WNY Coaches Poll and Frontier seventh.
"There was about a thousand people," Frontier coach Rich Kozak estimated. "I've never seen so many people for high school soccer. Ever. It was pretty big community event."
Added to that was the invitation Hamburg coach Tony Schiappa made to 20-25 college coaches to scout the 22 seniors playing in the game. He billed it as "The Southtowns Showcase."
Seventh-grader Nathan Hohl made 11 saves as the Frontier goalkeeper.
Jonah Kozak assisted on the goal giving him a Frontier career record 24 assists.
"It was a no-look backfield pass and it found Czajka at the 16-yards line," Rich Kozak said. "He gave it a professional finish."
The win gave Frontier valuable points in the battle for the overall sports supremacy between the schools. "it goes back to the 1950s," Rich Kozak said.
North's Spartans win battle of top-ranked field hockey teams
Williamsville North edged Clarence, 2-1, in a battle of the two top-ranked girls field hockey teams in Western New York in Clarence on Tuesday.
Kylie Rosen and Lauren Rabinowitz scored for the No. 1 ranked Spartans while GabbyManzella, Erin Roland and Emma Roland each had an assist.
Sam Mallare made 15 saves in goal for North. Bre Shannon had one defensive save.
It was the first loss after six wins for Clarence. North is undefeated in six games.