Hamburg’s boys volleyball success on Saturdays continued as the Bulldogs won their own Hamburg Tournament, beating Canisius in a tight final. Five of the eight teams in the eighth annual event are ranked among the top 10 in the WNY Coaches poll.
The Bulldogs and Canisius were evenly matched evidenced by the scores in the final, 31-29, 23-25, 15-13. Canisius fought back in the second set, scoring the last four points to win.
“They blocked us and they forced us into hitting errors because of the defensive pressure they put on us,” said Hamburg coach Brian Carroll.
The third game was just as close as the first two with seldom more than two points separating the teams. “It was very close and the games were played at a very high level,” said Carroll. “The third game was just a toss-up. When it’s only to 15 points, whoever comes out the gate the fastest has a big advantage.”
It was a rematch of last year’s final won by Canisius. Hamburg added the title to victories at Orchard Park, Sweet Home, and it was a finalist at Clarence. Sophomore setter Ryan Dils of Hamburg was named tournament MVP. Hamburg improved to 19-2.
• Anthony Podgorsak earned MVP honors as Williamsville South beat defending champion West Seneca West to win the Grand Island Invitational. The 12th annual event included 12 teams.
Podgorsak, a senior outside hitter, showed what he could do on defense as well as offense. “He was the best all-around player for them,” said tournament director Bill Schultz of Grand Island. “He played good defense and was an offensive threat in the front row from the left side. He was digging a lot of balls and putting it away for them.”
Earning berth on the all-tournament team were: Steve Zaprowski of South, Evan Koehler of West Seneca West, Nick Clancy of West Seneca West and Kyle Burns of Grand Island.
• In girls volleyball, ECIC I foes Orchard Park and Frontier met again in the finals of the North Tonawanda Tournament with the Quakers winning, 25-15, 25-13. Christine Zizzi and Noelle Polancarz earned all-tournament honors for OP.
Clarence runs are a Classic
The Clarence boys and girls won team title at the 32nd Fall Cross Country Classic at Akron Falls Park. A field of 21 boys and 24 girls varsity teams took on the hilly, 3.1-mile layout on a nice day over a wet course. The start was very muddy and some kids lost their shoes. It made the course slow, but the competition was fierce.
The Clarence girls finished with 46 points to edge Penfield by a mere point. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 in the New York State sportswriter’s poll. Clarence’s fifth girl beat Penfield’s fifth to help make the difference.
“One of the things I never have to do before this meet is get the team fired up,” said coach John Hunt. “I might say a few things, but I don’t have to say much. They’re ready to go. They know where they’re at, they know their competition.”
Marissa Saenger of Clarence finished second in 20:01.6 to Katie Lembo of Penfield, the No. 1 runner in the state, who went 19:01.7. Abby Lang of Lockport was third and Hannah Kurbs of Lockport was fifth.
The Red Devils boys had 37 points while St. Joe’s was second with 64. Dan Huben of Clarence won the race in 16:30.2. Anthony Belfatto of St. Joe’s was second and Zachary Kuloszewski of Clarence was third.
Owen Barber of Allegany-Limestone won the small school boys race while eight-grader Elisa Papke of Akron was the small school girls winner.
South soccer beats Clarence
The Williamsville South girls soccer team finished an undefeated regular season (16-0) in a big way by beating Clarence, 4-2.
The Billies entered the game ranked No. 1 among large schools in the WNY coaches poll while the Red Devils shared the No. 3 ranking. Clarence is the ECIC I champion while South won ECIC II.
“That’s the type of game you want to prepare your team for playoffs,” said South coach Kevin McNamara. “When we scheduled that game maybe back in June we knew they were a quality program. They are one of better programs we’ve seen this year even out of Section V. We celebrated today, but at the same time the kids understand they have to turn the page and next week it’s season No. 2.”
Carissima Cutrona scored three goals for South. Clarence’s Sydney Cerza scored twice. .