Thursday June 6, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
Courtney Mitchell and Lake Shore were thwarted in the Class C final by Amherst, which won a ninth straight sectional title. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)
Lake Shore may have had owned both regular season wins over Amherst this year, but that seemed to matter very little to the Tigers and their prolific scorer Grace Lawson.
In the biggest game of the season, it was no surprise that Lawson and company gave another big performance up and down the field to extend Amherst’s streak of Section VI titles to nine.
In her second straight eight-goal performance in a Class C final, Lawson led a quicker and now more confident Amherst squad to a 14-7 win over Lake Shore in the nightcap of three games Wednesday (May 29) at All-High Stadium.
The Tigers beat Lake Shore for a second straight season with a sectional title on the line. Last year’s win came in an overtime affair.
“I knew today, of all days, was our biggest game of the season and that Lake Shore really wanted to win and so did we, but we thought if we came out firing, we’d get them in the end and we did,” said Lawson, who outscored Lake Shore by herself.
“It’s always a good rivalry between us and them,” she added. “They have awesome people on their team, but we knew we had high standards to keep and that’s what we did — we kept the tradition going.”
Last year’s final, like the team’s two regular season games this year which went to overtime, was much closer. Amherst won after two three-minute overtime periods.
This was actually the first of the six games that the teams have played over the past two seasons — since Lake Shore won a Class B title then moved down a classification, that the game was not extremely closely contested.
“Amherst played with more confidence this time and we were just slow today,” Lake Shore third-year head coach Hannah Wawrowski said. “We really were. I don’t know what it is. Maybe they all had pizza for lunch today. There was a difference; I just haven’t been able to put my finger on it yet.”
Eighth grade sensation Shayla Scanlan, who’s trusted enough to take draws for the team, scored four times. Junior Alie Jimerson, who had scored 14 times in the previous two games between the teams, was held to just two this time. Symone Maracle also scored for the Eagles.
“Shayla’s great at the draw and when we need her, she’s there for us,” said Wawrowski, a 1998 graduate of Lake Shore. “We want her to step up even more. She needs that confidence and we’re trying to instill that in her.”
Sophomore Kourtney Cox added three goals for Amherst, while standout junior goalie Emily Bitka, who’s verbally committed to Albany, was also a major difference maker, especially in the first half as she made many key stops to keep Lake Shore to just three goals in the first 25 minutes of play.
“We’ve been working on the progression to increase the level of play from the regular season. The girls really came out and left it all out on the field, no regrets,” Amherst’s first-year head coach Marisa Brown said. “The level of confidence was there — it’s something we lacked with consistency during the season. That led us to gain the momentum in our favor.”
With the score only 4-3 in favor of Amherst at the half, Lawson scored the first three goals in the second in less than two minutes and Amherst began to pull away. Lawson, who added three more in the second half, finished the season with 81 goals.
“She’s the quarterback on the field — she calls out the plays,” Brown said. “She also has the ability to see the field, getting assists to her teammates. She scored a left-handed goal tonight, too, so we’re just really proud of her.”
Wawrowski hopes this only makes a young Lake Shore team even more hungry to get back on top and she’s believes that work will begin right away. And the smart money is on the two schools meeting once again next season — considering none of the scorers on either side were seniors.
“We start training Monday, so anyone who wants to get an early start preparing for next year, they can right then,” Wawrowski said.