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OP, Amherst field hockey teams hang on

The Orchard Park field hockey team did something on Monday it hadn’t done in over a decade, beat Williamsville North.

Using the new shootout format in which a player has up to 10 seconds to score starting from the 25-yard line, Rachel Eye did the honors. She shot the ball off the goalie’s pad, and put in the rebound giving OP a 2-1 win. The goal was the first in the senior defenseman’s career.

The score was 1-1 after regulation. Jesse Urbank scored 15 minutes into the first half for Orchard Park while Shannon Quinlan answered with just with 40 seconds left in the game for North. The teams then played a scoreless 10 minutes of 7-on-7 sudden death. Quakers goalies Stephanie Pickard and Janelle Gefaller combined for 19 saves. OP improved to 2-0 while North is 0-1.

“The whole game was exciting, even after he first half everyone was whipped,” said OP coach Bridget Callahan. “Talk about going back and fourth …”

• The Amherst field hockey team was eliminated by Hamburg in last year’s sectionals, but on Monday its luck changed.

The Tigers needed overtime, but they beat the Bulldogs, 4-3, in their ECIC season opener. McKenna Rushford scored the game-winning goal on an assist from Taylor Balser with 2:15 left in the extra session. It was Rushford’s second goal of the game.

“She’s one of our more-skilled players,” said Amherst coach Laurie LeGoff. “She has a great awareness of space and is very poised. She does a great job transitioning and generating an attack for us.

Iroquois peppered West Seneca’s East goalie with 32 shots before coming away with an 8-1 win in its season opener. Meghan Fonfara netted three goals while Michelle Karwick scored one goal with three assists.

Girls soccer teams playing for T-NT Cup

Meeting for the first time in six years, the North Tonawanda girls soccer team beat Tonawanda, 2-0, in the first of two games of the T-NT Cup. Nicole Mallone had both goals and goalie Allie Smyth earned the shutout. The scores for the two games will be added together and the Cup will be awarded to the winning team.

Section VI recognizes Character Award

Section VI has given Cross Training Football its blessing this season to recognize football players for showing character with its Character Athlete of the game award. This award is being given in conjunction with the WNY and Southern Tier Officials Associations. Throughout the season at least one athlete from every school will be recognized.

Week 1 winners were: Nick Audino (Clarence), Cameron Coons (Frontier), Tyler Conklin (Springville), Nick Sarratori (Eden), Steven Iverson (Sweet Home), Jeff Yax (Iroquois), Tyler Winkowski (Lancaster), Steve Kulik (Kenmore West), Roman West (Hutch-Tech), Ben Gov (Grand Island), Randy Bish (South Park), Ryan Miller (Maple Grove/CL), Curtis Caya (Portville), Andrew Heil (Clymer) and Jacob Short (Panama).