If the weather wasn’t enough to stimulate fans’ senses, the on-field action surely was.
While many Section VI sports fans had their eyes glued to the action at Ralph Wilson Stadium, throngs of others packed Amherst High School – sticking it out through bone-tingling temperatures and heavy rain, sleet and snow – for an exhilarating day of European football.
Two electrifying struggles went to overtime. The other game was a showdown between two state superpowers. Section VI went 1-2 against Section V in the girls soccer Far West Regionals. Holland was victorious, and Clarence and Williamsville South had their seasons come to an end.
In the nightcap, the Class AA battle, Webster Thomas bested Clarence, 3-1 in overtime.
Erin Tersegno scored the deciding goal with 8:50 remaining in the second OT period, and Marley Jarvis iced the game with another late goal. Sophomore forward Sydney Cerza scored for Clarence.
“The kids played great. The defense was outstanding,” said Clarence head coach Tom Furminger. “That’s a heck of a good team, and we were right there with them the whole way … I couldn’t ask for anything more from the kids for the season or this game.”
The second matchup of the day, the Class A regional, pitted the No. 1 (Honeoye Falls-Lima) and No. 3 (Williamsville South) teams in the state, with HF-L winning, 2-0. The showdown lived up to its billing in the early going, as the teams traded opportunities but neither side could penetrate the opposition’s imposing defense.
Honeoye – specifically junior forward Morgan Machiele – eventually broke through twice.
The Cougars jumped to a 1-0 lead at the end of the first half, when Machiele streaked down the right side of South’s 18-yard box and drilled a shot into the left side of the net. With 24 minutes remaining in the second half, Machiele took a breakaway and scored again.
Though South (19-1) was in contention throughout, Honeoye’s impenetrable ‘D’ led it to the state semifinals.
“I refuse to believe that one game defines us as a team,” said Williamsville South head coach Kevin McNamara. “Today was their day – HF-L – and they were the better squad today. Bottom line.”
The loss marked the final game at South for star forward Carissima Cutrona, who will play at Colgate next fall.
“We’re losing a person in Cutrona that came in here five years ago that really, really changed the program,” McNamara said. “It’s just difficult to replace a once-in-a-lifetime player like this girl.”
In the first game of the day, the Class C regional, Holland defeated Keshequa, 3-2 in overtime. Sophomore forward Olivia Schmidt, who leads Section VI in goals, scored twice – once four minutes into the game, and once with four minutes remaining in the second overtime period.
The winning goal came off a corner kick. Senior defender Chelsea Grupp drilled a beautiful ball low and right in front of the net, where Schmidt tapped it in.
Keshequa was 20-0 entering the game and had won the Far West Regionals the last two years (including last year over Holland, 2-0). Dutchmen head coach George Schmidt embraced the typical underdog mentality when he prepared his young team.
“We were talking yesterday that, ‘Hey, we want to slay Goliath,’ ” Schmidt said. “Keshequa was Goliath, and we were going to be David … I said, ‘The bigger they are, the harder they fall.’ ”
Holland returns to action in the state semifinals next Saturday. It will face Section VII champion Northern Adirondack at Cortland High School. I-Haldane and IV-Lansing meet in the other semifinal. The final is Sunday.