Both Clarence and Lancaster entered Friday night’s girls soccer clash on a combined win streak of 17 games.
That meant something had to give when the ECIC I rivals met for the second time this season.
Although Lancaster had home-field advantage and took the early lead, the defending Section VI champion Red Devils simply refused to lose this one. They scored twice in the second half and finished the game with an 11-9 edge in shots to earn a 2-1 victory.
Sammi Payne and Kailey O’Brien scored for Clarence, which has now won 10 straight games – a streak that includes two victories over the Legends. Emily McLouth made eight saves for the Red Devils (10-0-1), who have beaten all comers since opening the season with a 3-3 tie against Nichols.
“We’re firmly in control of ECIC I and probably the first seed of section,” Clarence coach Matt Andrews said of the importance of Friday’s win. “I firmly believe we will see Lancaster again in the sectional final … but you have to play the games, as they say.”
Clarence beat Lancaster in last year’s final for the Class AA crown.
The Legends, whose field is slightly shorter in length than Clarence’s home pitch, used that and the wind to their advantage to take a 1-0 lead in the first half on a goal by Kamryn Vanderbosch.
Lancaster is 9-3 overall, 7-2 in division play.
“They are a quality team and always come ready to play,” Andrews said. “And they had a good game plan for us. ... The strength of our team is to be able to step up to adversity. It’s just the grit of our team. They just decided at halftime we were going to win this game and we took control in the second half.”
Clarence returns to action Tuesday at home against West Seneca West.
Lancaster hits the road for a nonleague game at Iroquois on Monday.