Weekly Feature



2018-10-10 / Sports

League record with no losses still in play for girls soccer team

by JASON NADOLINSKI
Reporter

Clarence’s girls soccer team put its chance to finish 2018 without a loss in league play on the line Tuesday when it faced Lancaster in its final ECIC I contest of the season, but even if a victory wasn’t in the cards – the game ended too late for this edition – the Lady Red Devils were certain of one thing going into the match: They couldn’t be knocked out of the division lead.

That’s because the Lady Red Devils’ 4-1 win over Frontier Saturday, which moved them to 10-0-1 in league play, clinched them the regular-season title.

“Lancaster’s not a pushover; they have a really good goalie, in fact,” coach Dave Stephan said. “We’ll have to work hard to knock in a few goals against them, but fortunately for us we have the players, the finesse and the technical ability to play with anyone. It just comes down to who works harder on the field.”

Clarence was the team that worked the hardest Saturday, though the Lady Falcons certainly had a role in that with how they played. After taking a 4-0 lead at the half, Stephan sent his players out in a different formation to start the second half, “and they came out really fired up to where they were all over us,” Stephan said. Frontier’s determination led to an early second-half goal, which was all Stephan needed to switch back to how his team played the entire first half to close out the game.

“Frontier is a tough, gritty team, and it was kind of a muddy game too,” Stephan said. “Their goalie had some tough luck with a couple of balls that she might have normally stopped if her gloves weren’t so soaking wet. We had some other good opportunities to score, too, but she came up with some big saves. We’ve got to be careful with them if we meet them in the playoffs.”

Hannah Rivett had a goal and an assist to lead the way for the victors, while Olivia Grande, Emma Faso and Anevay Rice also added a goal each. Kristen Zima and Megan McCraith also had helpers for Clarence, while Lauren Staley stopped seven of the shots she faced to earn the win between the pipes. Maddy West, Izzy Andzell, Gianna Telfair and Erin Faso all played well defensively in front of Staley.

Clarence’s score sheet was just as balanced in its 5-0 triumph over West Seneca West two days earlier in this year’s Senior Night and “Pink the Field” game. McCraith and Olivia Argentieri each had a goal and an assist to pace the Lady Red Devils’ attack, while Grande, Kailey O’Brien and Madison West also scored goals. Rivett also had an assist for Clarence, which fired 28 shots on net in a busy day in the attacking end of the pitch.

“It was great to see five different goal scorers, but even more than that, it was great to see all of the seniors get a lot of time on the field,” Stephan said. “West is no pushover. It was a nice game for us to be able to come out on top in the way that we did. And it was a night game under the lights on top of it all. The girls just did everything they needed to do in order to come out on top. It was just the perfect night for us.”

Clarence’s week began back on Oct. 1 with a 7-0 conquest of Jamestown. Once again everyone got into the game and six players ultimately found the back of the net for the Lady Red Devils, whom Stephan shuffled around and placed restrictions on for the second half in order to “see if they could still contribute under circumstances they weren’t exactly used to.”

“To get a bunch of the girls more field time, in the event that we get an injury, is just a huge thing for us,” Stephan said. “We had a great opportunity not only to play everyone, but to see how the girls would fare if they weren’t in their traditional positions. It was a win-win for us.”

Emma Faso scored the team’s first and last goals of the game, and also recorded an assist to lead the charge. West and Rivett each added a goal and an assist, while Gabrielle Bigham and Isabella DiMaria also notched goals. Julia Messineo, Argentieri and Rice all added helpers for the Lady Red Devils (11-2-1 overall), who close out the regular season Friday by hosting Rochester’s Mercy. Clarence will then find out its playoff fate the next day when the section holds this year’s seeding meeting.

“Mercy will be a really good test for us,” Stephan said. “They’re kicking butt in Rochester right now, so I’m anxious to see how we stack up against them. We’ll just stick to our philosophy of trying to outwork our opponents. I’m just really happy with the girls; they’re having fun out there and peaking right when we want to be for the playoffs.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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