Michael Biedny goes up for a save during Clarence’s Class AA sectional title winning performance. Clarence would lose in the Far West Regional. (Photo by Joe Valenti)
When Michael Biedny gave up a first-half goal to Lockport’s Alex Reid in the Class AA Section VI championship game, the Clarence High School goalkeeper was left to wonder if that would be the defining moment of his junior soccer season.
When teammate Brandon Law tied the game late in regulation, Biedny and the Red Devils had new life. And he certainly wasn’t going to give up that second chance.
“I just felt like a dagger went through my heart when we went down, but it came right back out when we scored,” he said. “ I was sweating, but I knew my team always has my back and I’m going to have their back. And we weren’t going to let anything stop us.”
He was correct. After two action-packed overtimes, the Red Devils dominated the shootout, scoring three times and allowing none, and posted a 2-1 victory at Hamburg High School.
“It feels like a huge weight off our shoulders,” Biedny said. “We didn’t play our best soccer, but in the end we come through and got it done.
Biedny did his part to make sure the ball didn’t get past him again. He was at his finest in the shootout, making a save and forcing two more wide.
“Penalty kick are all about the mental edge and getting in the shooter’s head,” Biedny said. “It’s all about focus and trying to get into the shooter’s head. And we got the job done.”
With Hunter Hein in goal, Clarence won four championships. But with Hein — Western New York’s all-time leader in career shutouts, now playing at Florida Tech University — a new goalie stepped into the starting role.
Biedny and fellow junior Christian Farage have gone in to protect the net and filled in admirably. The Red Devils were at 20-0, which includes 11 shutouts, after the win over Lockport.
And when it mattered most, Biedny proved he had the championship edge that has become customary for Red Devils’ soccer players.
“My goalie was money,” Clarence coach Mike Silverstein said. “He stepped up when I needed him to. We talked about playing with more confidence and he played with that confidence when we needed it.”