Friday November 15, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
STRETCH — Senior Haley Breier reaches for a ball during Eden’s 3-1 loss to Barker in the Class C final. Photo courtesy of David Eckhardt.
For the better part of the past decade, Section VI titles have been synonymous with Barker field hockey. The Raiders bolstered that idea on Nov. 6.
Braving wet and windy conditions at Amherst High School, Barker took advantage of a hot start and defeated Eden in the Class C final 3 – 1. The win marked the sixth consecutive season in which the Raiders fielded a sectional champion.
“The team is pretty excited,” head coach Jeff Costello said. “They expect to win every game.”
When it comes to Barker, which finished the regular season 11 – 1 – 0 in the Niagara-Orleans league, expecting to win isn’t a farfetched notion. It’s won eight sectional championships in the past nine years and has 16, since 1996.
Barker rode the momentum gained from a fast start to victory against its Raider counterpart. Senior co-captains Brooke Bodine and Olivia Denny scored 2:52 apart early in the opening half, to put Barker ahead.
“That was the best half we’ve had, all season long,” Constello said. “We tend to have a bit of a slow start, but we really came out fast. I was really happy; that first half was really solid.”
“Usually if we get a good start in the first half then our spirits get up and we know that we can do it,” senior captain Heather Mason said.
Junior attacker Gabriella Clare drove the Barker lead to three, 4:36 into the second half. The team didn’t cruise to victory, however. A late push by Eden, which dominated possession late in the contest, had Barker on its heels. A flurry of stops by Barker’s sophomore goalkeeper Caitlyn Mason preserved the lead until late, when Eden senior Abby Waldorf broke up the shutout.
Eden coach Jen Carriero said that she was very pleased with her squad’s second-half performance. She said her Raiders always play to the end and that this game was no exception.
“We started playing a little intimidated [in the first half],” she said. “The team I was hoping would show up sooner came in the second half.”
Carriero said that she was proud of the way her girls performed, this season, and complimented their work ethic. “In every game we played, win or lose, I could never fault their effort,” Carriero said. “They always played to the last second of every game, no matter the score.”
Barker defeated East Rochester in the regional championship on Nov. 9 at Medina, to move on to the state semifinals.