By John D'Onofrio
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
“We did what we could. We knew we were up against ‘The Big Monsters.’”
That's what visiting Kenmore West head coach Todd Marquardt said after the Lockport Lions beat his team, 7-0, in a Section VI Class AA boys soccer quarterfinal contest Thursday.
With the win, head coach Jeff Hulshoff's 17-0 team — ranked fourth in the state according to the latest coaches' poll — advance to play in a AA semifinal at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Hamburg High School. Lockport will play No. 3-Orchard Park.
LHS senior striker Mike Ford scored four goals, bringing his season total to 23. Fellow senior striker Alex Reid added two goals, giving him 21 on the year. Also scoring a Lions goal was senior midfielder Nick Sammarco.
Junior Bailey Reid earned his 11th shutout of the season, making three saves.
Hulshoff praised the effort of his entire team, particularly his senior midfielders Sammarco, Sam Greco and Jerry West.
“Our midfielders really controlled the play and set up everything,” Hulshoff said. “They're all complete, two-way players.”
With the big win, the Lions have out-scored Ken West 22-1 combined in their three meetings this year.
Ford, whom Hulshoff said, “is always in the right place at the right time,” opened the scoring for the blue and gold just shy of 31 minutes in. Lions senior Anthony Pellicano crossed the ball beautifully to Reid in front of the goal. Reid went high and headed a shot right on Blue Devils' busy senior keeper Chris Schultz, who made a great save, but Ford was there to boot home the rebound and the Lions led 1-0 with 9:47 left in the first half.
That opened the floodgates for Lockport, which tallied two more times before intermission.
Ford set up Reid for 2-0 lead with 7:37 left in the half, then Sammarco sent a great through pass to Ford, who drilled in his shot to make it 3-0 Lockport with under a minute to go.
Beshaw set up Ford's third goal of the game just three minutes into the second half with a beautiful through pass that hit Ford in stride streaking down the right side. Ford's shot into the lower left corner made it 4-0 Lions.
Sammarco demonstrated his offensive capabilities with a bullet past Schultz to make it 5-0, taking a sweet touch pass from West and firing a rocket into the top right corner.
“We're a different team from last year,” West said. “Games like these we were winning by just 1-0 or 2-0 a year ago. This year we're communicating more and taking it to our opponents and winning by larger margins. We're setting the pace of the game, rather than our opponents setting it for us.”
Hulshoff was substituting heavily by now, but the Lions were rolling and the ball kept rolling — into the Blue Devils' net.
Ford tallied his fourth goal after a scramble in front of Schultz with 15:10 left. Reid rounded out the scoring just 30 seconds later, assisted by Ford.
“We have the top three goal scorers in the league (Ford, Reid and Beshaw),” Ford said. “But we'll need to continue to play quicker and possess the ball smarter if we hope to keep winning.”
With the loss, the Blue Devils finished their season 7-8-3 overall.
“We had a season of peaks and valleys,” Marquardt said. “We started out well, then we lost four games in the middle of the season, three by shutout and that was our valley. But we peaked late in the season and I thought we played a very good game winning at Jamestown (Wednesday) in a long bus ride. Today, we did what we could and our kids played until the last second. As a coach, that's all you can ask for.”
BOYS VI SOCCER
3-Will. South 1, 11-Starpoint 0
WILLIAMSVILLE — Having already knocked off the No. 6 seed earlier this week, the visiting Spartans fell short in Thursday's Class A-1 quarterfinal.
Ben Noel scored the lone goal for the Billies in the 19th minute.
GIRLS VI SOCCER
5-Tonawanda 1, 4-Wilson 0
WILSON — Kalin Compeau scored with seven minutes left in regulation and Alanna Herne made eight saves for the Lady Warriors (13-4), who advance to the Class B semifinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Amherst.