The Williamsville girls hockey team won its first New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship last season, claiming victory at Harborcenter.
This year, the team must travel across the state to Lake Placid to face Plattsburgh, which should have more of the home-ice advantage.
The game is the second semifinal Friday night at 8, with Salmon River against Clinton set to begin at 6 p.m. The winners meet Saturday at 8 p.m. for the title.
The weekend also gives Williamsville a chance at the rare hat trick of WNY Federation, Section VI and NYSPHSAA titles in the same season. Last season, Williamsville won the sectional and state crowns but was upset in the Fed semifinals.
The only team in the 10-year history of the Federation to complete the triple is Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park in 2017-18.
The weekend should be emotional for Erin and Emma Roland, the star sisters who will play their final high school hockey games together. Emma, who had all three goals in a 3-2 sectional title game victory against Kenmore/Grand Island, signed her letter of intent this week to play hockey at RIT. Emma signed to play field hockey at Slippery Rock.
Both play lacrosse so this will not end their high school sports careers, just close a chapter in ice hockey.
Hamburg’s Chaffee commits to Alabama
Hamburg sophomore lefthanded pitcher Evan Chaffee has committed to the University of Alabama, and is believed to be the first Hamburg athlete to receive a scholarship from an SEC school.
He attended a camp in Tuscaloosa in mid-January and “he knew it was a great fit,” Hamburg coach Derek Hill said.
Chaffee began playing on the varsity as an eighth grader with three starts. Last spring as a freshman, he was 3-1 with 31 strikeouts in 28 innings. In five league games, he had a 1.10 earned run average.
Hill said three events outside the area helped propel Chaffee’s recruitment: his performances in the PBR State Games in Binghamton, at a weeklong camp at Vanderbilt in July and at the WWBA 2022 National Championships in October in Orlando, where pitched for Florida-based Team Elite Squad, a top travel team.
More football games?
The NYPHSAA Executive Committee could consider a proposal that would allow teams to play an additional regular-season game during its meeting Friday.
What would serve as the eighth regular-season game would mean eliminating the scrimmage against other teams that is allowed before the season begins. Under the proposal, a team that went to the state championship game would play 14 games total.
The state football committee approved the measure in December, putting its fate in the hands of the Executive Committee.
Field hockey changes
High school field hockey games will move to four quarters of 15 minutes each instead of two halves of 30 minutes each beginning with the 2020 season, according to rule changes announced by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
There will be a two-minute break between the first and second quarters and the third and fourth quarters with a 10-minute halftime.
As a result of the quarter breaks, games no longer will feature timeouts, the rules committee said in a news release. Previously, teams were allowed two 90-second timeouts per game.
Games will begin with a center pass and the restart of play will be by a center pass by the team that did not score following each goal.
Marzec, Udy honored
Abby Marzec of the Nichols Schools and Abigail Udy of Sweet Home have been named Scholars of Distinction by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. Juniors and seniors with a cumulative grade point average of 3.9 out of 4.0 through the first quarter of the 2019-20 school year were honored.
They were among players from Amherst, Lancaster, Nichols and Sweet Home to be recognized on the High School National Academic Squad for having a 3.5 or better through the first quarter.
Amherst: Isabella Bonvissuto, Emma Guzdek, Madison Herdlein, Katherine Jacobia, Rylee MacDonald, Audirana, Mazzara, Natalie Merrill, Lillian Sykes.
Lancaster: Tiffany Andres, Paige Bukaty, Paige Bulera, Karley Callea, Nicole Conte, Morganna Dee, Avery Heimanowski, Skyler Holzman, Kristen Kessler, Avrey Kirsits, Aubrey Monk, Alexis Odrobina, Olivia Ringle, Madison Tadusz, Katelyn Rkitka, Emma Rogacki.
Nichols School: Abby Marzec, Alexandra, Snow, Mackenzie Sucher, Alexa Suda.
Sweet Home: Maria Ball, Brielle Brodnicki, Kelsey Janas, Kelly Parucki, Kylie Tolsma, Abigail Udy.
Jones wins No. 300
Depew boys basketball coach Larry Jones reached 300 career victories with a 70-63 victory against Lake Shore on Wednesday.
Jones has coached the Depew varsity since 2003-04 and his teams have won four division championships and the Section VI title in 2008. His career win total includes two years at Huntington Beach (Calif.) Christian School and one season at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
Depew has won six consecutive games to help Jones hit the milestone. He entered the season with 291 wins.
“The greatest thing about it is if you get to 300 wins it means you’ve been doing it a long time,” Jones said. “I’m fortunate to do something I love for so long.”