Thursday September 20, 2012 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
Sarah Stando has become one of Hamburg’s go-to offensive players this season. (File photo courtesy of Ron Larson)
Hamburg lost some significant talent from a team that so impressively made a run through last season nearly unblemished until it met its match in the Far West Regional.
However, don’t expect that the Bulldogs won’t again be a player for a Section VI title. Coming off consecutive Class B championship seasons, Hamburg has already started the season 3-1, it’s only loss a come-from-behind 3-2 win by Clarence in a non-league game on Sept. 17.
Head coach Kelly Owens likes the mix of returning seniors with the contributing juniors who are now filling roles at the varsity level.
Hamburg is coming off a 17-2-1 season, which ended with a loss to Pittsford-Sutherland. The Bulldogs lost eight seniors, most of whom were starters, including All-Western New York midfielder Andrea Goldbach and all-league forwards Liz Vesneske and Lauren Dobson.
But the Bulldogs bring back most of its defense, where they should be especially solid with the return of All-Western New York First team goalie Taylor Wolf and senior defenders Bridget Hogan, Kailee Ramaekers, Andie Springer, Beka Agliata, Christy Nolan and Grace Maecker. Agliata and Ramaekers are captains. Wolf and back-up Claire Buffa have each recorded a shutout and shared another.
Sarah Stando leads the team in scoring, while fellow seniors Heather Tighe and Melissa Obenshain, along with Jill Ford and Maddy Lockwood are also contributing offensively. Lockwood and Ford are both up from the junior varsity. Ford, also a captain, scored twice in the loss to Clarence.
Other newcomers from the junior varsity making an impact include Kaley Reardon and Sam Eberle, both of whom are starting in the midfield, and Leah Jones, who is filling in on attack. Junior Katie Carr is also working on the defensive line.
“Expect that we will be right in the mix come playoff time,” said Owens, who was named ECIC Coach of the Year last year for the fourth time, also winning it in 2010, 2008 and 2005. “The girls are extremely hard workers and the goal is to be back in the sectional final. The juniors bring a lot of talent to the team and along with our senior leadership, things seem to be falling into place.
Hamburg remains in ECIC Division II and Class B. Only Class B mate Iroquois was ranked ahead the Bulldogs in the latest WNY poll.
“The scoring is pretty spread out and the defense is playing very well,” Owens noted. “We are off to a great start and the goal is to continue that path to sectionals.”