For Catholic high schools in the diocese, this autumn has marked harvest time on soccer fields as well as farm fields.
A bumper crop of sectional titles was produced, with no less than three girls’ soccer teams emerging as champions. Our Lady of Mercy and Aquinas Institute won outright Section 5 crowns, and Nazareth Academy earned a cochampionship.
Nazareth also won a Section 5 title in girls’ volleyball. Meanwhile, Aquinas boys’ soccer and McQuaid Jesuit boys’ volleyball each settled for Section 5 runner-up status.
AQ girls’ soccer
The Little Irish cruised to a 4-0 win over Greece Athena in the Section 5 Class AA final, played Nov. 1. The third-seeded Little Irish dominated the top-seeded Trojans as Olivia Guy scored two first-half goals while Sarah Henderson and Briana Tata each tallied in the second half. Kate Perry stopped nine shots in goal for the shutout.
This marked the fifth consecutive sectional title for Aquinas, which has won or shared an incredible 12 crowns over the last 13 years. The Irish won this one outright after settling for cochampionships the previous two years.
Aquinas’ path to the final was highlighted by a 7-0 quarterfinal victory over No. 6 Canandaigua on Oct. 25 and a 3-1 semifinal win over No. 2 Brockport on Oct. 29.
AQ’s season came to an end with a 2-0 loss to Fairport, the Section 5 Class AAA champ, in a state Class AA qualifier game on Nov. 5. Aquinas’ final record was 17-3-2.
In a battle of Cinderella teams, the No. 7-seeded Monarchs scored a 2-1 win over No. 8 Pittsford Mendon, in the Section 5 Class A final played Nov. 1.
Korinne Thorne gave Mercy a 1-0 lead early in the first half. After the Vikings’ Jane Thomas knotted the score at 1-1 late in the half, Thorne — who is only a freshman — struck again with five minutes to go. The Monarchs prevailed despite not having the services of their top two scorers, Kate Smith and Daniela Cianci, due to injuries.
Mercy had reached the title game by winning 1-0 in overtime over No. 10 Brighton in first-round play on Oct. 22, 3-0 over No. 2 Palmyra-Macedon in the Oct. 25 quarterfinal and 1-0 over No. 3 Honeoye Falls-Lima in the Oct. 29 semifinal.
The Monarchs saw their season end on Nov. 9 with a 2-1 loss to Williamsville East of Section 6 in the state Class A quarterfinal round. Jackie D’Antonio’s goal late in the first half wasn’t enough as Mercy ended up with a 13-8-2 record.
The second-seeded Lasers earned a 2-2 tie with No. 1 Bloomfield in the Section 5 Class CC final on Oct. 31, and thus both teams shared the sectional crown. Amber Hamlin-Thomas and Janine Swanson scored first-half goals for Nazareth.
Both the Lasers and Bombers were scoreless in overtime, so a penalty-kick round was held to determine who would move on to states. Nazareth prevailed by a 4-2 score in the shootout, with Swanson, Biannca Bullard, Cecelia Gotham and Maggie Bates scoring the goals.
In previous sectional play, the Lasers won 6-1 over No. 15 Letchworth on Oct. 21, 4-1 over No. 10 Pavilion on Oct. 24 and 2-1 over No. 3 Marion in an Oct. 28 semifinal game.
Nazareth’s season came to an end on Nov. 4 as York, the Section 5 Class C champion, scored a 1-0 overtime win in the state Class C qualifier game. The Lasers’ final record was 15-4-4 as they won the first sectional soccer title in school history.
The third-seeded Lasers won a thriller over top-seeded Byron-Bergen in the Section 5 Class C final on Nov. 4. The scores were 23-25, 25-20, 25-15, 24-26 and 25-23.
Megan Morrell had 21 kills in leading Nazareth to its second straight sectional title, and Hannah Dolan had 32 assists and Julia Crilly added 17 kills.
Nazareth then scored a 25-17, 25-13, 25-18 win over Le Roy, the Section 5 Class CC champion, in state-qualifier action on Nov. 6 as Dolan had 19 assists and Morrell added 15 kills.
The Lasers’ season was ended two days later in the quarterfinal round by Salamanca of Section 6. The scores were 25-21, 25-19 and 25-15 as Nazareth finished with a 14-4 record.
Aquinas boys’ soccer reached the Section 5 Class A title game as the No. 3-seeded Little Irish won 3-0 over No. 6 Pal Mac in a quarterfinal game on Oct. 25, then prevailed 2-1 in overtime over No. 7 Victor on Oct. 29 in semifinal play. Sean Kolb scored the game-winner against Victor and Karl Zydowicz had the other AQ goal. The Little Irish then lost 3-1 to No. 5 Honeoye Falls-Lima in the title game on Nov. 4 despite Mike Redmond’s first-half goal. Aquinas’ final record was 15-5-1.
McQuaid boys’ volleyball advanced to the Section 5 Class A final from the No. 7 seed position. The Knights defeated No. 10 Churchville-Chili, No. 2 East and No. 3 Webster Schroeder in reaching the championship match on Nov. 5. There, they were defeated by No. 1 Penfield, 25-16, 25-19 and 25-15, to end the season with a 17-8 record.