Lady Flames’ soccer advance on penalty kicks
The same type of situation occurred in Saturday’s Class A final at Dimp Wagner Alumni Field at Amherst. Second seed East and top-seed Grand Island shared the sectional title but the Lady Flames won, 1-0, on penalty kicks.
East (19-0-1) faces Section V’s Greece Arcadia at 1 p.m. Saturday at Amherst in the Far West Regional.
“Both teams were co-champions so you hope the practice that you do — you never going to duplicate the pressure — but you hope to do the best you can,” said East coach Chris Durr. “We ’ve been shooting them for a couple weeks. We have good shooters so it’s all about where you need to put it. We’ve won a couple of these in the past. The last time we played Grand Island it came down to the same way so I felt good about it. Unfortunately, a team had to lose. Both teams played great.”
East beat Grand Island, 3-2, in penalty kicks in the 2006 Class A sectional final but the fourth and fifth shooters weren’t needed this time.
East won the coin flip to decide which team was going to start and senior Katie Griffin opened with a shot that beat GI goalie Kristin Wegrzyn to the left side.
“Usually I have this thing where I go to the right side of the net but I was feeling the left side so I went with that,” said Griffin.
Senior Daniela Galante followed with a shot up the middle and senior Melissa Spada beat Wegrzyn to her left for the Lady Flames’ second and third penalty stroke goals.
On Grand Island’s attempts, junior Lady Flames’ goalkeeper Jenna Reilley made a diving save on Grand Island’s Jordan Dudish and GI’s Sara Wilczek and Jeannie Taylor each hit cross bars.
“They’re not expecting the goalie to stop it so I tried my best to stop it the best I could,” said Reilley.
“I told her, the kids in these PK’s are supposed to score on you so don’t hang your head when they do score, just put it in the back of your mind and move on to the next one,” said Durr. “When you save one, it makes the other shooters think about being a little more precise and that is what happened to their next two shooters.”
Reilley saved the game for East with 3:30 remaining in the second five-minute sudden death overtime when she leapt up and tipped a shot from Kaitlyn Holt on a GI corner situation up over the crossbar. Reilley finished with eight saves.
“It was a really fast play and I just tried to get a hand on it and luckily, I did and it didn’t go in,” said Reilley.
“For a kid who is an athlete and just plays goal - she plays in the summer but doesn’t go to goalie camp - she’s come out of nowhere this year for us,” said Durr.
The East defense, led by senior Morgan Begy, played well throughout the game.
“We had to keep their two big players [Jenna Raepple and Jordan Dudish] off the scoreboard,”said Durr. “If we did that, I felt we had a good chance to win. She’s [Raepple] the leading scorer in the NFL[Niagara Frontier League]. That is what we’ve done all year — shut down other teams’ forwards.”
The game went to penalty kicks because no score was decided between two 40-minute halves, two 10-minute overtimes and two five-minute sudden death overtimes.
“The kids gutted it out,” said Durr. “It’s tough to play 110 minutes. They were kids that did not get off the field.”
The sectional championship is East’s third in the last four years and seventh since 1995.
East is first in Western New York large schools, second in the state in Class A, and third in Region 2 and 19th in the nation in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings.