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Immaculata runs away with soccer final

BIG WIN FOR IA — Sophomore Alyssa Choboy (right) and Imamculata coasted by St. Mary’s 10 – 0 on Saturday. Photo by Joe Valenti.
After two years of disappointment in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association small school championship game, the Immaculata Academy girls soccer team made certain it took care of business, this time around.

The Bears scored early and often on the morning of Nov. 3 and claimed their first league championship since 2002, with a 10 – 0 win against Saint Mary’s of Lancaster at Niagara University.

“Every day we would remind each player on the team that we could win this year,” senior Emma Lipinski said. “So, every day, we worked hard on passing or whatever we needed to do; no one was screwing around. We were just focused on winning.”

The team did just that.

Immaculata averaged 7.3 goals per game, this season. This marked the second time the Bears poured in 10 goals in a game; they also did so on Oct. 9, during a 10 – 1 win against Niagara Catholic.

The win improved Immaculata’s record to 14 – 1 – 1, the loss coming to Mount Mercy and the tie to Frontier. The closest call against an Monsignor Martin Athletic Association small school was against these Lancers, which dropped a 2 – 1 decision to the Bears in Lancaster on Oct. 11.

In the finals, however, Immaculata proved its mite.

“They were definitely the team to beat,” St. Mary’s coach Lenny Pfohl said. “They’re well-coached and they have excellent players. That’s the difference between having travel players and not having travel players. But I’m not taking anything away from our girls; they showed a lot of character and a lot of heart.”

Stephanie Busha scored 4 goals, to lead Immaculata in the championship game, and finished with 7 in her team’s two postseason contests. Kiley Austin and Monica Shaffstall added 2 each, while Lipinski and Kristin Kline also found the net for the Bears.

A year ago, the Bears made a surprise run to the finals, losing to Christian Central. Immaculata was the top gun all the way this season and won its two playoff games by a combined 18 – 0.

“They played hard all season long,” Immaculata coach Jeff Aau said. “My seniors gave it their all, all season long. They have heart, they have soul and they’re dedicated. We have a lot of weapons, but they all work together great. They collectively are a team.”

Nardin claimed the MMAA large school championship with a 2 – 1 win against Nichols, also on Sunday at Niagara University.
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