Another Galanti is laying down roots in Western New York athletic circles.
Brandon Galanti, speedy forward on the Frontier soccer team, has been named the WNY Player of the Year. His name highlights the 14 players on the 2013 All-Western New York team chosen by area coaches.
Galanti’s grandfather, Ralph Sr., was Director of Parks and Recreation for 47 years in Lackawanna. His uncle, Ralph Jr., was a Hall of Fame athletic director and hockey coach at Erie Community College. His two sisters are playing college lacrosse.
“It’s a great honor to win this over all these great players,” said Galanti. “I was pretty ecstatic when my coach told me. I didn’t really grow up around soccer. I grew up around hockey, football. No one in my family really paid attention to soccer.”
It wasn’t until Galanti made the Empire United Premier 13-under team that he began to realize he had a gift. “The sport really grew on me since then,” he said.
Galanti is skilled at finishing his chances and uses his exceptional speed to beat defenders. He had 21 goals for the Falcons, including one in overtime to defeat Jamestown. He had two goals in a 3-0 Senior Night victory over West Seneca West.
He didn’t play high school soccer as a junior, opting to enroll in the Revolution Empire Development Academy, 16-under. He said he returned to his high school team because he wanted to play with his friends and compete for a Section VI title.
Around the nets
Voted the WNY Coach of the Year was Kevin Beale, who wrapped up his 17th season at East Aurora by winning a third consecutive Section VI title (in either A or B). The Blue Devils finished 18-2-1, their season ending in the Far West Regionals against Pittsford-Mendon.
“We graduated seven starters from last year and the new kids really stepped up and didn’t realize how good they were until everything came together for them at the end of the season,” said Beale.
The best keeper in Western New York is Austin Medole of Akron. The Tigers won Class B and the Niagara-Orleans League. “You play teams twice and after the first game you already know their strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “As goalie you have to keep that in mind where they shoot from, if they like to go left or right, if they like to go through balls.”
The only repeat picks on this year’s All-WNY team were are Jacob Montante of Canisius and Sam Wasson of Clarence.
Graduating from the second team to the first were Kyle Kleckner of East Aurora and Vickram Goel of Williamsville East. It was Kleckner’s goal with 3 minutes left that gave the Blue Devils a 2-1 win over Williamsville East in the Class A final. He played the last two games of the season with a broken big toe on his kicking foot.
This year’s overall Section VI champions were Clarence (Class AA), East Aurora (Class A), Akron (Class B), I-Prep Grover (Class C) and Ellicottville (Class D). Clarence ended the season as the No. 1 ranked large school in the WNY Coaches poll.
Canisius won the Monsignor Martin’s A Division, but it was rival St. Joe’s that won the playoff title with a 1-0 decision over St. Francis.
Referee of the year was Tom George.
As a senior and a junior, Grand Island’s Ryan Ross was name an all-tourney selection in the ECIC/NFL Challenge.