Williamsville North scored twice in a two-minute stretch in the first half and played solid defense in the second to take its third-straight Class A field hockey title, beating top-seeded Clarence, 2-1, in freezing temperatures Tuesday night at Amherst High School.
Barker stayed undefeated in its quest for the Class C crown earlier in the evening, beating Akron, 1-0, without allowing a shot on goal. Both teams advance to the Far West Regional Saturday against the Section V champions, with both games in the Rochester area.
Senior Kaitlin Curtis opened the scoring for Williamsville North with 9 minutes to play in the first half, and classmate Hannah Pilkey flicked the ball into the top of the net two minutes later for what would be the winning goal.
“We just had so much intensity and built on each other,” Pilkey said of the stretch that produced both goals. “Me and Katie [Curtis] had a great give-and-go play, and I just wound up and shot and it went in. I was trying to get it to the post and it worked.”
Clarence came out strong in the second half and earned four corners but couldn’t get through North’s smothering team defense until the final minute of the game when junior Jenna Luzi scored for the Red Devils.
“Our defense stepped up big time,” North coach Sara Colombo said. “We tried to just maintain possession and when we had our chances we put the ball in the net.”
North had seven corners on the night and nearly pushed its lead to three on two occasions, with a shot off the post in the first half and a goal called back in the second.
In Class C action, Barker sophomore Melissa Grosshans scored from just in front of goal for the game’s only tally less than three minutes into the second half, while senior Makenzi Strickland had the assist.
“Makenzi passed it into the circle, and I wasn’t actually going for goal, I was actually trying to pass it and it just went in,” Grosshans said.
Freshman goalie Caitlyn Mason picked up the shutout behind Barker’s tight defense, which conceded only three corners.
The game opened up in the second half after a first period that saw only one shot on goal. Barker controlled the tempo most of the game and finished with nine shots on net and 10 corners, plus three shots off the post. Akron had its three corners in the same offense push with 20 minute to play.
“I was excited, I was so pumped up for this game,” Grosshans said. “Everyone knows we’ve been here before and we just had to get the job done.”