Lately, Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Rochester have been enjoying a special kind of fall harvest — one that reaps athletic championships.
Leading the crop of title winners was the Aquinas Institute boys’ soccer team, which won the state Class A title Nov. 11. The Little Irish scored a 3-2 overtime win over Byram Hills to complete a post-season run that also netted them the Section 5 Class A crown two weeks earlier.
Overtime goal makes the difference for Aquinas in state boys’ soccer final
In the state final, played at Middletown High School in Orange County, Aquinas relinquished a two-goal lead but rallied for the win over Byram Hills of Section 1 (Westchester County).
The Little Irish got on the board in the game’s 26th minute on a goal from Tin-Tin Pasia. Nearly 10 minutes into the second half, AQ made it 2-0 as Nicola Costa scored.
However, the Bobcats rallied with a pair of second-half goals, forcing overtime. In the game’s 100th minute, during the second OT period, a long, looping kick from Chancel Shabani was headed by Pasia to JB Leary in the goal mouth. Leary’s initial shot was stopped by Bobcat goalie Gavin Nichols, but the ball came right back to Leary and he tapped it home for the deciding goal.
Pasia factored into all three AQ scores, finishing with a goal and two assists, as the Little Irish completed their season with 20 wins, two ties and not a single loss.
Earlier in the state tournament, Aquinas won 2-0 over Williamsville South of Section 6 in quarterfinal play Nov. 4 on goals from Micaiah Benjamin-Castle and Shabani. AQ then scored a 1-0 victory over Westhill of Section 3 in the semifinals Nov. 10 thanks to Leary’s second-half goal.
The Little Irish had qualified for the state tournament by earning the Section 5 Class A title Oct, 27, winning 2-0 win over second-seeded Pittsford Sutherland. Top-seeded AQ also won 6-1 over No. 8 Pittsford Mendon in the quarterfinal round Oct. 20, and 4-1 over fourth-seeded Wayne in semifinal play Oct. 24.
McQuaid football rolls to fifth straight crown; state playoffs begin Nov. 18
Among the other local title winners was McQuaid Jesuit football, which won its fifth straight Section 5 Class AA crown. The undefeated Knights, who cruised past their three sectional opponents by a combined score of 128-43, now move on the state playoffs.
McQuaid, seeded No. 1 in Class AA, powered to a 45-15 win over second-seeded UPrep in the sectional final Nov. 11. The Knights fell behind 7-0 before tearing off 45 unanswered points en route to the blowout victory, going up 45-7 after three quarters. Leading McQuaid was John Harding, who made 35 carries for 2o6 yards and four touchdowns. Eoin Meyer ran for the Knights’ other two touchdowns.
Prior to the title-game victory, the Knights won 48-14 over No. 8 Rush-Henrietta in quarterfinal play Oct. 27, and 35-14 over No. 4 Aquinas in semifinal action Nov. 3.
The win over UPrep improved the Knights’ record to 11-0. Next up is a state Class AA quarterfinal appearance against Buffalo Bennett of Section 6. That game is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. at Williamsville South High School, with the winner advancing to the state Final Four.
Shutout wins lift Aquinas to sectional girls’ soccer championship
AQ girls’ soccer won the Section 5 Class A title with a 2-0 victory over No. 2 Pittsford Sutherland Oct. 28. The top-seeded Little Irish got a first-half goal from Sienna Fallone and a second-half score from Jaden Deming. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Liz Tantalo picked up her third straight sectional shutout.
Aquinas had reached the championship game by winning 5-0 over No. 8 Honeoye Falls-Lima in quarterfinal play Oct. 21, and 3-0 over No. 5 Greece Olympia in semifinal action Oct 25.
The Little Irish saw their season come to a close Nov. 4 with a 1-0 loss to Lewiston-Porter of Section 6 in state Class A quarterfinal play, only their second defeat all year. AQ’s final record was 16-2-2.
Our Lady of Mercy golfers earn team and individual crowns, qualify for states
Our Lady of Mercy’s golfers claimed first places in both team and individual competition at the Section 5 championships.
The Monarchs topped the four-team field Oct. 15 at Penfield Country Club for their fourth straight sectional title. Leading Mercy was Sophia Cellura, who took first place individually. She shot a nine-hole score of 38 at Penfield and an 18-hole total of 76 the next day at Ravenwood Golf Club; her overall score of 114 bested second-place Harper Dittman of Fairport by six strokes (42-78).
Placing third individually was Aquinas’ Emily Ferguson with 121 (45-76), while Mercy’s Marisa Eichas finished fourth at 129 (39-90). By finishing in the top nine, Ferguson, Eichas and Cellura qualified for the state tournament next spring. Mercy also will compete as a team at states.
Soccer, swimming, cross-country and cheerleading athletes achieve success
- In boys’ soccer, Bishop Kearney/Chesterton advanced to the Section 5 Class B final. The Kings, seeded fourth, won 6-0 over No. 13 Wellsville Oct. 18 in first-round play, 3-1 over No. 5 Wayland-Cohocton in quarterfinal action Oct. 21, and 2-1 over No. 1 Mynderse Academy in the semifinals Oct. 25. BK was stopped by No. 3 Hornell in the title game Oct. 28, falling by a 3-2 score.
- Another boys’ soccer finalist was McQuaid Jesuit, which reached the title contest in Section 5 AAA. The second-seeded Knights scored a 1-0 win over No. 3 Rush-Henrietta in semifinal play Oct. 24 before being edged by top-seeded Fairport, 1-0, in the championship game Oct. 27.
- In girls’ swimming, Our Lady of Mercy placed second in team scoring at the Section 5 Class B championships Nov. 4. Monarch swimmers took first place in five events: Elli Knausz in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly; Emi Carey in the 50 free; the 200 medley relay; and the 400 free relay.
- In cross-country, McQuaid took second place at the Section 5 Class B meet Nov. 4. The Knights were led by Logan Canfield, Max Schnittman and Luke Schickler, who placed fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. At the state meet Nov. 11, Canfield topped the Knights by placing 13th in Class B.
- In cheerleading, Aquinas won the Section 5 Class C1 game-day championship Oct. 28.