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Iroquois field hockey team exceeds expectations to win sectional title

After being hit hard by graduation, Iroquois High School girls field hockey coach Pete Tonsoline admittedly didn’t know what to expect out of the 2012 Chiefs. Suffice to say, he was extremely pleased with what he got.

The Chiefs enjoyed an undefeated regular season — the first in Tonsoline’s 19 seasons as the head coach – and then capped it off with their first Section VI championship since 2007.

“I never expected it — never, never expected it,” Tonsoline said. “These kids just kept getting better. They have a lot of fun together.”

And that led to one of the greatest seasons in the history of the strong program. The Chiefs finished the year 17-1-2 and dominated schools of all sizes in 2012.

“Our team was awesome,” leading-scorer Meghan Fonfara said. “We gave it our all, all the time. We just never stopped. It was just unbelievable. Our record was awesome, we couldn’t been any better — just unbelievable.”

The Chiefs were 15-2-1 last season, but lost 11 players to graduation. Making matters worse, standout attacker Mikaela Osinski suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Sept. 12 win over Williamsville South. But Iroquois refused to be deterred.

“I had kids pick up the slack and kids come through all year,” Tonsoline said. “They just kept getting better and better. It’s just a great group. They just have a lot of fun together, great team chemistry.”

The season ended with a 3-0 loss to Pittsford-Sutherland in the Far West Regionals — the only time the Chiefs surrendered more than one goal in a game all year. But that can’t take away from a memorable season for Iroquois.

Fonfara had the dazzling statistics — 32 goals in 18 games, but there were many standouts on the Chiefs’ roster. Senior Riley Fenn scored nine goals and seniors Kristen Brish added three goals and two assists. Sophomore Nina Bracci and junior Kirsten Audette tied for the team lead in assists.

Team defense was a major part of that success. The defense was the unit that had the most returnees from last year, so that group was expected to anchor the club in 2012. And they certainly delivered.

A strong defense, led by seniors Maddy Geil, Jourdan Gingrich, Sam Gadd, Lexi Hackford and Audette, helped limit the competition to 10 goals. Sophomore goalkeepers Brianna Malczewski and Jamie Ward combined for 12 shutouts.

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