Variety was the rule for Catholic high schools in the diocese this fall, with sectional championships earned in five different sports.
Aquinas Institute football won its fourth straight Section 5 title by knocking off arch rival McQuaid Jesuit in the title game. Also earning sectional crowns were McQuaid cross-country, McQuaid boys’ soccer, Elmira Notre Dame girls’ soccer and Nazareth Academy girls’ volleyball.
In addition to these titlists, there were five sectional runners-up as well: McQuaid football, Nazareth girls’ soccer, Our Lady of Mercy girls’ volleyball, Aquinas boys’ soccer and McQuaid boys’ volleyball.
The Little Irish, seeded No. 1, rolled to a 31-17 victory over second-seeded McQuaid in the Section 5 Class A final on Nov. 6. Aquinas was led by running back Mike Messina, who piled up 134 yards on 25 carries. AQ led 7-3 at halftime and then reeled off 21 unanswered points — including two touchdowns by Messina — to go up 28-3. The Irish were the only club to defeat the Knights this year, having also won 31-24 in overtime on Oct. 16.
AQ had reached the sectional title game with a 34-13 semifinal win over No. 5 Greece Athena on Oct. 31 as Manny Magliocco threw three touchdown passes and Messina gained 116 yards on 21 carries.
Following the McQuaid win, AQ’s season was stopped in state Class A quarterfinal play by Buffalo Sweet Home, 33-7, on Nov. 13 in a battle of unbeatens. It was AQ’s first defeat after 10 straight victories and came against the same Panther squad that knocked the Irish out of last year’s state quarterfinals.
The Knights won the Section 5 Class A championship on Nov. 7 behind the one-two individual finishes of Mike Tripp, who covered the Genesee Community College course in 16 minutes, 34 seconds; and Robert Hurlbut, who finished in 16:36. With 35 points, McQuaid easily outdistanced No. 2 Pittsford Mendon’s 67-point total.
McQuaid went on to place second in Class A at states, finishing as runner-up to Burnt Hills of Section 2 in the title meet held Nov. 14 at SUNY Plattsburgh. Hurlbut placed second individually with a time of 15:52, and Tripp was the Knights’ other top-10 finisher by going 16:04 to place seventh.
The Knights made good on their No. 1 seed in the Section 5 Class AA tournament, cruising to a 3-0 title-game victory over No. 7 Irondequoit on Nov. 6 as Stephen Baker scored two goals just 22 seconds apart in the first half and Steve Contestabile added a second-half goal.
It also was Baker supplying the offense in a 5-0 semifinal win over No. 5 Webster Thomas on Nov. 3, as he totaled four goals in that game.
The Knights’ season ended in the state Class AA qualifier as they suffered their first loss all season, 3-2 to Fairport in overtime on Nov. 10. Baker again led the Knights (18-1-1) by scoring both goals. He finished as this year’s top scorer in Section 5 with 42 goals, and had 102 for his career.
ND girls’ soccer
The Crusaders claimed the Section 4 Class C championship with a 2-0 win over Newark Valley on Nov. 7. Rachael Lamoreaux and Marianne Thomaris scored second-half goals, and the second-seeded Crusaders notched their 13th shutout of the season as goalie Hannah Brackley made four saves against No. 4 Newark Valley.
Notre Dame had reached the final with a 1-0 victory over No. 3-seeded Unatego on Nov. 3 thanks to a second-half goal by Lamoreaux and a key late save by Brackley.
The Crusaders were stopped in state quarterfinal play, 5-3, by Sauquoit Valley of Section 3 on Nov. 14. Thomaris netted two goals and Kathleen Mahajan had the Crusaders’ other score. Notre Dame finished with a 17-3 record.
The Lasers were in top form for their Section 5 Class C final, rolling to a 25-13, 25-20, 25-21 sweep of Byron-Bergen on Nov. 7. Julia Crilly led No. 1-seeded Nazareth with 16 kills, and Hannah Dolan added 12 kills against No. 2 B-B.
Nazareth had reached the championship match with a 25-15, 25-14, 25-18 victory over No. 4 Le Roy on Nov. 4 as Crilly had 11 kills and Lisa Manioci contributed 26 assists.
The Lasers met their match in state regional play on Nov. 14, as City Honors of Buffalo scored a 25-18, 25-19, 25-9 sweep. Nazareth ended with a 15-3 record.
- McQuaid football advanced to the sectional final with a 42-20 win over third-seeded Victor on Oct. 31 as John Jenkins carried for 209 yards and three touchdowns. The Knights (8-2) also were led in the title game by Jenkins, who had 161 yards on 16 carries against Aquinas.
- Nazareth girls’ soccer reached the Section 5 Class CC final all the way from its No. 8-seed position before falling, 2-1, to No. 3 Williamson in the title game on Nov. 6. Janine Swanson scored the Lasers’ lone goal as her team finished with an 11-9 record. Nazareth had made the final with a 2-1 triumph over No. 5 Alexander on Nov. 3 as Swanson and Savannah Tucker scored.
- Our Lady of Mercy girls’ volleyball made the Section 5 Class A final before losing 23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-14, 25-13 to fifth-seeded Victor on Nov. 6. Mercy, the sixth seed, finished with a 14-5 record. The Monarchs had reached the title match with a 23-25, 25-16, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21 semifinal win over No. 2 Greece Athena on Nov. 3 as Virginia Combs totaled six kills and 24 assists.
- Aquinas boys’ soccer reached the Section 5 Class A final before falling to Pittsford Mendon, 4-0, in the title game on Nov. 10. AQ was seeded No. 2 and Mendon was No. 1. The Little Irish had made the title game with a 1-0 semifinal win over No. 3 Wayne on Nov. 5 as Andrew Lill’s first-half goal held up and Bryan White got the shutout. The Little Irish finished with a 16-3 record.
- McQuaid boys’ volleyball advanced to the Section 5 Class A final before falling to Penfield, 25-20, 25-19, 25-13, on Nov. 7. McQuaid was seeded No. 4 and Penfield was No. 2. The Knights had made the final by winning 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22 over top-seeded Rush-Henrietta on Nov. 7 as Steve O’Dell had 17 assists, 11 kills and seven blocks. McQuaid’s final record was 19-3.