A last-minute Lockport flurry fell just a fraction of an inch short — a close call that all but summed up the Lions’ opening day, 1-0 boys soccer loss to visiting Niagara-Wheatfield on Tuesday.
The ball just didn’t bounce Lockport’s way in the Niagara Frontier League opener for both schools at LHS under gray skies.
Midway through the second half, junior Jeremy Bari netted the game’s only goal for head coach John Coulter’s Falcons, who had a deep run in sectionals last season before bowing out.
“Lockport’s always a test. We open the season against them every year,” Coulter said. “It’s been a while since we took one from them. I think we had it coming. Our guys did exactly what they needed to do to win.”
With just over a minute to go, trailing 1-0, the defending league-champion Lions (0-1 NFL) almost tied it. Lions sophomore Andrew Sakowski blasted a rocket from just outside the penalty area off the cross bar. The ball shot straight down and took a hop out about 10 feet away from the net.
Lions senior Hunter Sherman sprinted in and timed it perfectly, blasting a shot towards the goal. Unfortunately, the shot was right at Falcons freshman keeper Tim Calkins, who barely hung on to end the threat and doubled over in pain from the shot to the mid-section throughout the game’s final minute.
“Our kids played hard and we just got beat today,” said Lions head coach Jeff Hulshoff. “Hats off to Niagara-Wheatfield. They played well today. We had a chance there at the end and just couldn’t quite finish. Their goalie made a good save at the end.”
Senior keeper Hayden Ross played the first half for N-W (1-0 NFL), sharing the shutout with Calkins. Senior Nick Sperazza earned an assist for N-W on Bari’s lone goal.
Hulshoff praised the efforts of his keeper, senior Bailey Reid, as well as sophomore Daniel DiMillo in the hard-fought contest.
“This win is outstanding,” Coulter said. “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. We’ve been talking about the same things since last year. We knew we were returning a stronger team than last year and we proved that today.”
Next up, Lockport hosts St. Francis at 5 p.m. Friday in the annual Lockport Boosters Soccer Tournament at LHS.
Will. East 3, Starpoint 1
PENDLETON — Mike Juszcack scored the lone goal for the host Spartans (1-1-1, 01 ECIC II) in Tuesday’s opening day of the 2013 ECIC boys soccer season.
Juszcack was assisted by Tyler Valentine. The Flames (1-0 ECIC II) are 3-0 overall.
Lockport 4, N-W 2
SANBORN — Sophomore sensation Gretta Dry did everything but drive the bus Tuesday, sparking the Lady Lions to an opening day victory at Niagara-Wheafield, topping NFL girls soccer action.
Dry netted all four goals for head coach Mike Finnerty’s defending league-champion Lady Lions — including one on a free kick.
“She’s just a very calm, patient player and a good finisher,” Finnerty said. “Other than her goal on a free kick, she was beating one or two players and getting the shot off, making good individual plays.”
Seniors Jill Golding and Rachel Herbst, along with junior Miranda Kiff earned assists for the blue and gold (1-0 NFL). Junior keeper Jayme Wadosky made 21 saves to earn the win between the pipes.
Danielle Chatten netted both goals for the Lady Falcons (0-1 NFL).
The Lady Falcons opened the scoring, but Lockport tied it before halftime, then scored three unanswered goals in the second half to pull away. N-W tallied late to cut the lead in half.
Next up, Lockport hosts Nichols at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the annual Lockport Boosters Soccer Tournament at LHS.
Newfane 6, Medina 0
MEDINA — Senior Savanah Jonathan led the Lady Panthers with four goals in the successful coaching debut of Troy Sellers.
Senior Sophie Connor added a goal and two assists and sophomore Kaylee Heschke also had a goal for the Lady Panthers.
In goal for Newfane, junior keeper Gabby Sinnott made three saves to register the shutout.
“The girls played an excellent game,” coach Sellers said. “They controlled the ball and did an excellent job throughout.”
Next up, Newfane plays its home opener at 4:30 p.m. Friday against Royalton-Hartland.
Wilson 5, Barker 0
BARKER — Holly Rudolph scored a pair of goals as the Lakewomen opened their 2013 N-O girls soccer season with a shutout on the road.
Marina Muth, Emily Paterson and Rebekah Blasius also scored for Wilson (1-0 N-O, 3-0 overall).
Roy-Hart 3, Wilson 1
WILSON — The visiting Lady Rams opened their 2013 Niagara-Orleans League volleyball season with a big, four-set victory on the road.
The scores were 25-12, 20-25, 25-23, 25-13.
Senior Justine Wittcop led veteran head coach Bill Holahan’s winners (1-0 N-O) with 24 service points, three kills and three service aces.
Also for the Lady Rams, Courtney VanBuren had 10 kills, Ayleen Brewer 15 digs, Morgan Jones five blocks and five kills, Becky Harnish two blocks, Eliza Schwab 18 setting assists and 10 digs; and Melanie Mikits seven setting assists and 12 digs.
Starpoint 255Depew 323
Starpoint 261Maryvale 309
Sean Brown and Will Hoffman each took medalist honors Tuesday, shooting 41s against the Wildcats.
Hoffman took sole honors with a 41 against the Flyers in a pair of matches last week for the Spartans (2-0 ECIC).