Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

High Schools

September 2, 2012

Taking the next step

Lady Lions soccer team finishedthird in 2010, runner-ups last year

LOCKPORT —  

The Lockport High School girls varsity soccer program has been taking giant strides in recent years under head coach Mike Finnerty.
Their next step is an obvious one.
The Lady Lions finished third in the Niagara Frontier League in Finnerty’s first year at the helm in 2010, then last year,   the team finished 8-3-3 and were second in the NFL.
“Our goal each year has been to finish better than the previous year,” said Finnerty, whose team is preparing to host Niagara-Wheatfield at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in their 2012 league opener.
“Our goal this year is a championship. We’ve never won one before, so our goal is to get there,” he said.
Finnerty, who spent five years coaching the LHS boys junior varsity team prior to taking the girls varsity position, said   the Lady Falcons will be among the NFL’s best teams in 2012, along with Grand Island and Kenmore West.
“Our first three games are our three hardest,” Finnerty said.
“Niagara-Wheatfield will be tough in our opener. They’re got many good players. Grand Island and Kenmore West should also be in the top four this year.”
Ken West claimed the NFL title last year with Lockport second and N-W third. The Lady Lions were ranked fourth in Section VI Class AA a year ago. Key losses to graduation include Marissa Wright, Emily Belfield, Cassondra Stolzenburg and Olivia Kurbs.
LHS graduated seven seniors in all last spring. You think that’s a lot? The year before, they graduated more, so the turnover has been substantial in recent years.
“The turnover is difficult, but because the girls are working out a lot in the offseason and playing in summer and winter   leagues, they’re familiar with how we play, so the transition is easier,” Finnerty said. “This group of girls played travel   ball together in the summer and won the Buffalo and Western New York girls U-19 title. And they also won the winter league title at Sportsplex. I’d say about 75 percent of them participated in offseason programs.”

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