Of all the goals East Aurora senior Kyle Kleckner has scored off a head ball, and coach Kevin Beale said he scored eight off his head alone during last year’s Sectionals, Saturday night’s Section VI Class A winner was the senior’s finest.
After the Blue Devils were being pushed to the brink by Williamsville East, which had tied the game at 1-1 eight minutes earlier, Kleckner headed in a ball from 12 yards out off a brilliant feed from Jimmy Czora in the 78th minute to send East Aurora to states for the third consecutive year.
“It was a great cross by Jimmy Czora to keep his head up and cross it in, and I just sized it up and put it bottom corner,” Kleckner said.
The East Aurora/Will East A1 final was the most anticipated match of the Section VI boys soccer tripleheader at Hamburg High School on Saturday, which also saw Akron top Medina-Lyndonville, 2-0, in the Class B final and Clarence top Orchard Park, 2-0, in AA.
Williamsville East came into the A1/A2 final at 17-1-1, and at times was ranked No. 1 in the state, but Kleckner finished a corner in the 47th minute with his head, and looked to give EA a major 1-0 advantage with a stiff wind and steady rain at its backs. But the Flames pushed back in the final 20 minutes, and were rewarded when Dan Griffin flicked home a corner in the 70th minute to tie the game.
But EA’s backline thwarted East’s pressure, moving the ball forward for Kleckner to have a chance for the game-winner.
“With just one play, a great player becomes a special player and that’s him right now,” Beale said of Kleckner.
EA moves on to play either Pittsford-Mendon or Pittsford-Sutherland Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Eastridge High School in Rochester.
Orchard Park (10-10) tried to keep its Cinderella story alive, but Clarence (16-1-1) was too much. Jacob Pontrello scored in the 15th minute before Sam Wasson hammered home a Bryan Eliason pass 17 minutes later. Clarence had 10 corners to OP’s 0 in the first half.
“The effort was there,” Clarence coach Mike Silverstein said. “I thought we played a really good first half, a sloppy second, but we had good effort we had a good attitude about it.”
Clarence’s sixth straight Section VI Class AA title (co-champs in 2011) sends it on to play Section V champion Fairport on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Eastridge.
Akron, which has won the three of the last four Class B titles, controlled tempo early and that proved to be the difference against Niagara-Orleans rival, Medina-Lyndonville. Akron will play the winner of Section V’s Odyssey or Livonia, Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Eastridge High School.
In the 12th minute, Tigers senior Randy Mayer hit a beautiful strike from 22-yards that skimmed the crossbar and fell behind keeper Adam Hoot. Tristian Olszewski scored other goal in the 70th minute.