The St. Mary's girls soccer program graduated three Division I players who were part of 51 victories over the last four years, including reaching the New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association final in the A division for the first time in school history last fall.
But the Lancers have not slowed down to start the season, moving to 5-1, with a 5-3 victory against previously undefeated Williamsville East (4-1) on Friday.
St. Mary's lost its first game against Shaker from the Albany area before winning its next five. The Lancers face Bishop Kearney of Rochester on Monday before opening the Monsignor Martin schedule against Nichols on Sept. 23.
Among the Lancers' graduates were Shae O'Rourke, the Class C player of the year and four-time all-state first-team selection who is now at Clemson; Gabby Gambino, a first-team all-state selection who is at Clemson; and Charlie Pawli, a defender who was named to the all-state second team who is now at Albany.
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Coach Brittany Heist is starting five freshmen and the program has added Kristin Middaugh, a junior midfielder who was named to the ECIC I first team last season at Lancaster.
Middaugh had three goals Friday against the Flames, including consecutive goals after Will East had tied the score at 2-2.
She also assisted on Michaela Panella's goal in the 13th minute as the Lancers quickly answered the Flames' 1-0 lead. Claire DeAngelis had a goal and an assist for St. Mary's.
Fiona Comerford, Lila Yonaty and Emily Wollingham scored for Williamsville East. Ava Thompson had two assists.
More girls soccer
• Entering Friday’s games, Frewsburg leads Section VI in wins with seven. The two-time defending Class C sectional champions are outscoring opponents 39-1. The offense has been led by senior Alexandra Hultberg (nine goals, eight assists, 25 points) and sophomore Ava Jimerson (10 goals, five assists, 25 points).
Five of the team’s seven games were against nonleague opponents, and its lone goal allowed was in a 2-1 victory against City Honors (5-1) in the third game of the season.
• Grand Island has bounced back from an 0-3 start and has won its last two games against Kenmore East, 7-0, and Kenmore West, 8-4. The Islanders put their test Monday against Niagara Frontier League leaders Niagara-Wheatfield (5-0).
Senior Ella Rudney leads Grand Island in goals with 12, and has scored in each game. Rudney also leads the team in points with 27.
Clean sheets for East, South
Williamsville East (6-0-0) and Williamsville South (7-0-0) have started the season strong in boys soccer, as neither has allowed a goal as each team has outscored the opposition by 31-0.
The Flames are ranked No. 2 in the Western New York coaches' large school poll and sixth in the state in Class A and the Billies are ranked third and 12th in the state. Clarence is No. 1 in the Western New York large schools poll.
Senior Bruce Damstedt leads the Billies with eight goals and three assists, and senior captain Sam LaMendola has seven goals and three assists. Goalkeeper Nate Allen has recorded six shutouts, and Brodie Utz has one.
As for East, junior Kharallah Musaid is already in double digit goals on the season with 11, and has also dished four assists. Senior captain Jay Jezioro is second on the team with seven goals and four assists. Charlie Hutton has recorded all six shutouts.
The Flames and Billies are scheduled to play Sept. 24.
Noecker knocks on history
Buffalo Seminary junior Elle Noecker swam a state qualifying time in the 200 freestyle with a 1:55.63 mark, which also broke the Buffalo State pool record.
Earlier this season, she broke the Sweet Home pool record in the 100 backstroke in 58.34, which is also a state qualifying time.
Prior to this academic year, Noecker won the USA Swimming Futures Championship in the 100-meter breaststroke last month in Ohio and swam a U.S. Open qualifying time of 1 minute, 11.16 seconds. At the Speedo Junior National Championships the following week in Irvine, Calif., she advanced to the finals of the 200-meter individual medley and finished 21st with a time of 2:18.91.
Noecker is looking to improve from her sophomore season in which she finished second in the 200 IM and 100 breast at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Federation championships in November in Ithaca.
Field hockey hot starts
• Top-ranked Clarence is 6-0 and has only allowed two goals thus far. Junior Avery Woeppel leads the team in goals with seven, followed by senior and returning All-Western New York field team selection Elle Ridge with five. Clarence’s next game will be Tuesday vs. Orchard Park (3-2).
• Akron, ranked No. 5 in the coaches' poll, has begun its season the same way the Tigers played last season: by winning. The Tigers are 4-0, outscoring opponents by a margin of 36-0. They put that streak on the line Saturday against Nichols (4-0). Nichols beat Akron, 1-0, last season.