Of all the uncertainties surrounding a new season, one probable outcome is a Williamsville school will win a sectional title.
It has happened five years in a row with Williamsville South winning Class A back to back in 2011 and 2012, Williamsville North taking Class AA in 2010 and 2011 and Williamsville East capturing Class A in 2008 and 2009.
Which Williamsville team will raise a plaque at sectional site Amherst this year?
Williamsville South senior Carissima Cutrona is already an All-American and a two time All-WNY pick. She had an ECIC-leading 37 goals last year. She’s back for her fifth year as a starter before moving on to Colgate next year.
Williamsville North was a Class AA finalist last year (16-3, 10-2). Like Cutrona, senior Meredith Licata is a returning first team All-WNYer. She tied for the team lead in assists with 14 and had 13 goals. She may be asked to score a little more following the graduation of two-time All-WNY Hannah Crofut. The Spartans are banking on sophomore Kaylyn Breindel and eight-grader Maya Palmer to finish.
If the Spartans are to return to the sectional finals, they’ll also need big years from Erin Hopkins, Katie Wolfe, Meagan Barry and Kristen Koral.
Williamsville East reached the Class A final and were ECIC II co-champions a year ago. Senior captain Emily Opalinski is a four-year starter at midfield and a 2012 ECIC first team all-star. She had eight goals and nine assists. Senior captain Bridget Scioli is a three-year starter at stopper and a 2012 ECIC first team all-star. Freshman Marissa Birzon is a second-year starter at forward and an ECIC first team all star. She has six goals and four assists in her first four games this year.
East and South are both in ECIC II and East and North traditionally meet at the end of the year. “Anytime you’re playing your own district, and the kids all know each other, it’s always a big game,” said East coach Chris Durr. “It’s a great way to end the regular season for both teams.”
Cutrona and Licata are two of five returning All-WNY first teamers. Tiana Woodarek enters her senior year as the all-time scoring leader in Springville history, junior Cailin Regan of Akron returns to lead the Niagara-Orleans League contenders and junior Tricia Mangan will be working to get Nardin back to the Monsignor Martin Association finals.
Regan had 10 goals and 14 assists as the Tigers won a sectional title (Class B) for the first title in school history. Regan’s a solid center-midfield player with excellent game awareness and distributes the ball well to either side of the field.
Junior Paige Buscaglia was second team All-WNY after scoring 17 goals with 14 assists. She plays well at any position and has exceptional ball handling skills. Senior Jenny Komosinski returns at goal keeper. She had an 88 percent save percentage.
While Regan and Buscaglia’s skills have been recognized by other coaches, the Tigers’ two trips to the Class B final can also be credited to midfielders Mardi Mangus and Rielee Welch, striker Erica Papke and defender Ashley Meitz.
“We have some tightening up to do as we lost some valuable players ,” said coach Lori Welch. “Thus far the team is very focused.”
Other returning All-WNY second teamers are Sarah Donohue (Nardin), Monique Green (Williamsville South) and Hopkins (Williamsville North).
Holland, last year’s Section VI Class C champion, returns senior sweeper Chelsea Grupp, who has competed in the state track championships the last two years in the 400 and 200 meters. Sophomore striker Olivia Schmidt has already scored 49 goals in her varsity career. The Dutchwomen welcome back sophomore Molly Zientek, who scored the winning goal in the sectional championship over Allegany-Limestone.
Ellicottville, a small school power for years, is the defending Class D champions finishing 15-3-1 and 12-0 in the CCAC. Last year, its season came to a close in the Far West Regionals in a 1-0 loss to Jasper-Troupsburg, 1-0.
Sixteen players are back including senior goalkeeper senior Liz Wendel, who was fourth team all-state. Sophomore forward Morgan Zlockie earned second team all-state after a 21-goal season. Coach Mary Neilon said she has effective leadership from a strong core of seniors.
Allegany-Limestone lost, 1-0, to Holland in last year’s Class C final, but after finishing 12-0 in CCAA I. Senior Cortnie Vaughn is a skilled midfielder who was third team All-New York State last year.
Hamburg sophomore forward Kara Daley is a true striker who scored 37 goals last year. Junior captain Amy Villarini is blessed with solid speed, which she uses to score or set up teammates. Midfielder Ashley Kabza plays equally well attacking or defending from the midfield.
Senior Jessie Smith returns to the Bulldogs after losing her junior year to an ACL tear. Through hard work she has rehabbed herself back into the starting lineup,” said coach Tom Zugger. “Jessie is an inspiration to her entire team and proof that hard work pays off.”
Tonawanda senior forward Kalyn Compeau had 60 points last year scoring 25 goals and 10 assists. Senior keeper Alanna Herne is coming off an all-star season in which she allowed 1.82 goals per game.
Lancaster’s core includes senior Alexis Ruggiero, junior Emily Czechowski and senior Danielle Zale.
Medina senior keeper Liz Meyer holds the school record for single-season saves with 266. She’s chasing the career saves mark of 354.
Depew is the youngest its been in a while with eight underclassmen starting. Two players are coming off serious injuries. Sophomore Brenne Stapleton broke her leg in two places as a freshman and has gone through a 10-month rehab. She scored twice in the season opener against St. Mary’s. Junior Morgan Grosch, the third sister in her family to wear the blue and white, missed her sophomore soccer and softball seasons with the knee injury.
Wilson is the defending Niagara-Orleans League champions finishing 15-2-1 and 12-1-1. Among this year’s challengers will be Akron. Wilson’s Angela Goodman is a senior captain, a returning league all-star and a strong, physical player in the midfield. Senior captain Hannah Johnson attacks from the back and Kayle Stoelting is a poised and smart senior sweeper. Midfielder Lauren Austin was third in the section with 17 primary assists.
Portville graduated seven longtime starters, but does have two strong leaders in captains Ellen Bossert and Brooke Lewis.
Frontier should be strong up the middle with seniors Hannah Lease and Molly Kacmarski.
Expect Cheektowaga to be much-improved with senior striker Maria Dzeikan, the assist leader the last two seasons; forward Vickie Smith, among the team leaders the last two season in goals; and junior goalkeeper Megan Dulniak, an ECIC III all-star.
JFK returns seven, including senior captains Allie Makowski and Katelynn Sikora. The Bears have a challenging schedule with Holland, Alden and Depew.
Eden, last year’s Class B finalist, returns six. The captains are scrappy forward Callie Abram, Jenny Morrow, an aggressive midfielder, and Sierra Puckhaber, who will look to replace some of the scoring of Catherine Mammoser.
Clarence is among the contenders in Class AA and ECIC I despite a young team. Riley Bowers finished among the league’s top five scorers last year starting as an eighth-grader. She was named the overall MVP at the Ohio State summer prospects camp this summer.
Maryvale co-captain, Jamie Michalewski is a five-year varsity starter who is the Flyers’ leader in goals (26) and needs six assists to break that career record. Co-captain Samantha Farino will anchor the defense for the Lady Flyers, who lost seven seniors.
West Seneca West has five-year starter Abby Jankowski on defense, senior three-year starter Erin Gehen on offense and returning starter Lauren Fibich in net. Sophie Osmond and Ashley Dibble will look to balance out the field and set up our offensive attacks.
City Honors is gunning for its 14th straight Radcliffe Cup title. Sophomore Molly Petrucci scored a school record 58 goals while handing out 28 assists. Jenna Szopinski was credited with 25 assists giving the Centaurs a formidable combination.
East Aurora will count on Corie Hughes and Lily Bergman on offense and Justina Cincotti and Abbi Robinson on defense. Cathy Haight, the JV coach the past seven years, takes over for the retired Tom Cashmore, who built the program.
The Monsignor Martin Association will be its usual ultra-competitive. Sacred Heart was a Catholic state final four team a year ago. The Sharks shared the league regular season title with Nichols and Nardin.
Nichols defender Val McNamara is a skilled player committed to Division I Binghamton. She’s a four-year starter. The Vikings have 15 players back. Sophomore Elena Kotrides, up from the JV, is up to the challenge of being the goalkeeper. Jenny Roach, a sweeper last year, will play an expanded role in the offense. Emma Elia is a skilled, versatile player. The Vikings have a deep bench who make a difference in games.
Mount Mercy returns two senior forwards who are coming off ACL tears. Senior Jessica Alvira lost two seasons with complications from her injury. She opened this season with three goals in her first two games, including the only goal in a 3-1 loss to Orchard Park. Maddie Higgins is also making a comeback. The Mount looks to surprise with nine seniors and 11 juniors, nearly all of whom having been playing year-round for years.
Monica Schaffstall is among the top seniors for Immaculata. Mount St. Mary’s looks to four-year varsity starter Carolyn Kennedy. Cardinal O’Hara counters with a four-year starter of its own in Candace Masich. Christian Central Academy, coming off a 12-1-1 season, boasts 33-goal scorer Tahela Noel. Kendal Smith and Tashi Sherpa look to make Park better.