A doubles sweep and a third singles victory by Delaney Fragale on Thursday helped propel the Lockport High School girls tennis team to the 2013 Niagara Frontier League championship.
Head coach John Beatty's Lady Lions defeated visiting North Tonawanda, 3-2, improving to 12-1 with just one regular-season match remaining on their schedule, clinching the championship. The second-place Lady Jacks dropped to 9-4.
Fragale defeated LeeAnn Richert, 6-1, 6-0, at third singles. Earning doubles wins for LHS were Morgan Haley-Kylie Kiah and Hayley Coakley-Maddie Stoness.
Haley and Kiah downed Samantha Kennedy and Carly McClinsey of NT, 6-7 (307), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4; while Coakley and Stoness downed Amanda Drier and Kaylie McGinnis, 6-2, 6-2.
NT earned its points and first and second singles, where Gretchen Ringler beat Kathryn Krawczyk, 6-1, 6-1; and Jessica Robbins defeated Delaney Portka, 7-6 (7-0), 6-4.
Barker clinches title
TOWN OF LOCKPORT — Make that three.
After winning Niagara-Orleans League championships in 2011 and 2012, the Barker golf team rolled through the 2013 regular season with a 13-0-1 record, marked by consistent play from cornerstone athletes Brad Wilson, Alonzo St. Louis and Mitch Luckman.
For coach Tim Daley and his squad, the Raiders' final challenge in the quest for a three-peat came yesterday at Willowbrook, in the all-league tournament that brought together all eight N-O teams for 18 holes of play. Heading into the all-league, Barker maintained a comfortable seven-point lead in the standings and had the title all but secured, but Daley cautioned his team to take nothing for granted.
The players heeded their coach's message quite well. Wilson shot 79, St. Louis shot 83, and the Raiders' five-man score of 453 was enough for a 23-stroke victory over Newfane, on an overcast but pleasant afternoon on Willowbrook's North and South courses.
Once again, the Raiders are Niagara-Orleans League champs.
"It feels great," Daley said. "I'm happy for the kids; they've put in a lot of effort this year. It's been a three-year process, and it all goes back to our seniors this year, who started as freshmen and worked hard throughout those four years. Getting to where we're at today, I'm really excited for them. It's been fun to see them grow."
Daley fondly reflected on the time spent watching his core group of seniors develop — in particular, Luckman, St. Louis and the injured Nick Provencher. When the group started as freshmen, Barker was stuck in neutral as a team, frequently finishing in the middle of the pack in Niagara-Orleans League play.
Then in the 2011 season, after a 3-5 start, the Raiders won their last six matches of the regular season and the league championship. Barker hasn't lost a match since.
Daley gives credits to his players for their dedication to improving their games throughout the spring and summer, despite the time demands of other sports such as baseball. The coach possesses a comprehensive knowledge of the game's fundamentals — that he strives to instill in his team during fall practice — but knows that a golfer's entire swing and technique cannot change dramatically during such an abbreviated fall season.
"I think we've seen success because our guys have been able to listen, take the little bits of advice I give them and use it to their advantage," Daley said. "It's tough in such a short season to really try and change someone's swing, so it goes back to putting in the time and effort in the summer."
St. Louis in particular credits Daley for helping improve his grip, recalling a time in a recent practice where he made a small grip alteration and suddenly was able to hit a 7-iron 180 yards uphill, a quick improvement from his previous distance capability.
St. Louis put the lessons to good use, shooting an 83 yesterday that was good for third place as an individual. Wilson's 79 gave him medalist honors, and Luckman finished in eighth place after a 90. Barker's Spencer Zimmerman tied for 10th with a 93, as the Raiders' consistency paid off in the victory.
Daley and St. Louis also wanted to credit the injured Provencher (shoulder) for lending help and support throughout the season. Although his recovery hasn't progressed to the point where he can play full rounds, Provencher frequently attended practice and played a few holes as the season wrapped up, and his presence was felt at Willowbrook.
Put it all together, and it added up to another league championship for the Raiders.
"Coach Daley has excellent understanding of game of golf," Barker athletic director Dave Carson said. "Coupled with just an excellent rapport he has with the kids, they kept it going from the foundation set by former coach Bob Roth and moved it forward. That was the goal all along, to continue the success, and the team has done a great job."
And for St. Louis, it marked a memorable achievement for a group of kids that grew together as golfers and people throughout their high school years.
"We were such a young group when we started coming up," St. Louis said. "To go from being young kids to winning this three straight years, it's pretty awesome. It was definitely a good year."
N-O FIELD HOCKEY
Barker 4, Nichols 1
BARKER — For a team that has had nothing but resounding success this season, Barker experienced a minor hiccup in the first half of play against Nichols. The Lady Raiders failed to score.
But from that point forward, Barker found the type of game it has had all year. Four different Lady Raiders scored in the second half, and Barker edged past Nichols, 4-1, in a non-league field hockey game on Thursday afternoon.
After the two teams played to a 0-0 first-half tie, Melissa Grosshans opened the scoring for Barker early in the second half, and Erin Greenwald gave the Lady Raiders a 2-0 advantage.
Shortly thereafter, Nichols scored to make it 2-1, which gave Barker coach Jeff Costello a bit of a jolt.
But just 1:05 later, Renee Levy scored to boost the Barker advantage back to two goals, and Costello was relieved.
"Getting the goal back within a minute, that was very settling for me," Costello said.
Brooke Bodine rounded out the scoring for the Lady Raiders, who improve to 9-0 overall, 7-0 in Niagara-Orleans League play.
Goalkeeper Caitlyn Mason anchored the strong defensive effort on Barker's part.
Akron 5, Medina 0
MEDINA — Although the Lady Mustangs fell short in this Niagara-Orleans League game on Thursday afternoon, Medina veteran head coach Kristi Young was pleased with her team's effort against a strong Akron squad.
"The score does not represent how we played," Young said. "Our players all stepped up their game and played much better."
The score was 3-0 at halftime, before Akron scored two late goals to put the game away.
Medina returns to action tonight for a 4:15 p.m. home game against Roy-Hart, to precede the homecoming football game against Lew-Port at 7:30 p.m.
Wilson 5, Newfane 2
WILSON — Michelle Myers continued her torrid play with four goals, as the Lakewomen upended Newfane in a Niagara-Orleans League game on Thursday afternoon.
Caitie O'Connor added a goal for Wilson, while Newfane's goals were scored by Caitlin Chunco and Morgan Bedford.
Ken East 5, Roy-Hart 0
TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Mackenzie Hadaway anchored the Kenmore East defense with a shutout in net, as Roy-Hart failed to score in a Niagara-Orleans League field hockey game on Thursday afternoon.
Kailyn Burke scored twice for the Lady Bulldogs.
N-O GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Newfane 3, Medina 0
NEWFANE — Autumn Richau led the way with 4 kills and 5 digs Thursday as head coach Karen Fawcett's Lady Panthers (5-3) beat the visiting Lady Mustangs in straight sets in a Niagara-Orleans League volleyball match.
Newfane won the first set 25-13, the second set 25-18 and closed the deal with a 25-19 victory in the third set.
Also for Newfane, Claire Puff recorded 4 kills and 13 digs, Erica Wright 5 kills and 11 assists and Stephanie Sherwood 7 kills and 3 assists.
Emily Kams had 12 assists for Medina in the losing cause, while Nicole Blount chipped in with four kills.
Roy-Hart 3, Akron 0
AKRON — Eliza Schwab led the Lady Rams with nine aces, as Roy-Hart won in straight sets in a Niagara-Orleans League volleyball match on Thursday evening.
Roy-Hart improves to 8-2 in league play, while Akron drops to 1-8.
Wilson 3, Lew-Port 0
WILSON — In a non-league match Thursday, the host Lakewomen got 7 kills from Allie Bubar and 18 assists from Emily Lasher in their win over the visiting Lady Lancers.
The scores were 25-21, 25-12, 25-17.
For the Lady Lancers (0-12), Hailey Andrews posted 4 kills and 5 digs.
N-O BOYS SOCCER
Medina 4, Albion 0
MEDINA — After the two rivals battled to a 0-0 first-half tie, four different Mustangs scored in the second half, as Medina rolled to a shutout victory in a Niagara-Orleans League game at Veterans Park on Thursday evening.
Ben Martin scored the first Medina goal just two minutes after the intermission, while Steven Anderson, Aaron Feltz and James Ianni all tallied later in the half. Josh White had two assists, while Ianni and Scott Barber had an assist apiece.
Adam Hoot made four saves to earn the shutout in goal for the Mustangs, who improve to 5-2-2 in league play, while Albion falls to 1-6-1.
Akron 3, Newfane 0
AKRON — Jamison Nelson scored two goals, as the Tigers won a Niagara-Orleans League boys soccer contest on Thursday afternoon.
Akron improves to 9-0 in league play, while Newfane falls to 6-2-1.
Wilson 4, CSAT 3
TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Mike Patterson scored two goals, including the game-winner, as the Lakemen earned a narrow victory over CSAT in a Niagara-Orleans League game on Thursday afternoon.
Nathan Johnson added a goal an assist for Wilson, as the Lakemen improve to 1-6-1 in league play. CSAT drops to 2-7.