Though it took a major upset and a scintillating comeback, Aquinas Institute football has maintained its familiar position of ruling the Section 5 roost.
The Little Irish, who claimed their seventh straight sectional title, were among numerous teams and individuals from Catholic high schools in the diocese to excel this fall. Also winning sectional championships were Bishop Kearney girls’ soccer, Elmira Notre Dame girls’ tennis and Our Lady of Mercy’s Christine Schmitt in girls’ golf. In addition, sectional runner-up appearances were recorded by Elmira Notre Dame boys’ and girls’ soccer, Aquinas girls’ soccer and AQ girls’ tennis.
Facing a 14-3 fourth-quarter deficit to No. 3 Pittsford in the Section 5 Class AA final, the second-seeded Little Irish got two touchdowns from Billy Lombardi to pull out a 15-14 win Nov. 3. Lombardi scored on a 1-yard run early in the final quarter and again from 20 yards midway through the period. Jonathan Mastrella made a 29-yard field goal to end the first half, cutting into a 14-0 deficit.
Previously, the Little Irish scored a 21-13 upset over top-seeded Rush-Henrietta in the semifinal Oct. 28. Lombardi’s 50-yard scoring run gave AQ a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, and it was Lombardi again in the third quarter with a 3-yard TD run to break a 7-7 tie, making it 14-7. Ishmael Cox added a 12-yard TD run to give Aquinas a 21-13 lead with just over a minute remaining.
Aquinas had advanced to the sectional final four with a 27-7 quarterfinal win over No. 5 Wilson Oct. 19 as Jake Zembiec threw for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
AQ’s season was ended by Orchard Park of Section 6, 14-7, in a state Class AA quarterfinal game Nov. 10. The Irish tied the score at 7-7 early in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run by Lombardi, one play after Cox made a 65-yard punt return. But the Quakers scored the deciding TD with just over three minutes remaining.
Aquinas’ final record was 7-4.
BK girls’ soccer
Kearney, the top-seeded team in Section 5 Class CC, won 1-0 over No. 2 Caledonia-Mumford in the title game played Nov. 3. Ari Smith’s second-half goal was the difference as BK netted its first sectional crown since 1995. Goalie Meghan Hake made six saves for her 13th shutout of the year.
BK had advanced to the title match with a pair of other one-goal victories: 1-0 over No. 8 Geneseo Oct. 26 as Sutherland scored during the second 10-minute overtime.
BK’s season ended Nov. 5 with a 2-0 loss to Addison, the Section 5 Class CCC champ, in a state Class C qualifier contest. The Kings’ final record was 16-4.
The Crusaders captured the Section 4 Class C-D tournament in early October by the narrowest of margins, scoring 60 team points to edge out Sidney’s 59-point total. This marked Notre Dame’s first sectional title since 2005.
Leading the way in sectionals were Mary Pelkowski and Olivia May, who reached the doubles final; Mackenzie Thoma and Meghan Cleary, who made the doubles semifinal round; and Kaley Hoefferle, who earned a third-place finish in singles.
Schmitt claimed her third consecutive Section 5 title by shooting a 4-over-par 76 in the sectional tournament held Oct. 9 at Country Club of Rochester. Monarch teammate Danielle Fuss came in second place with a 78 on a tough scoring day that saw only eight players break 100.
By finishing among the top nine, Schmitt and Fuss earned a return trip to the state tourney this coming spring where both have finished in the top 10 the past two years. Fuss was second and Schmitt tied for sixth in 2012, and a year earlier Schmitt was third and Fuss tied for eighth.
ND boys’ soccer
The Crusaders reached the Section 4 Class D final as the No. 1 seed. They won 2-1 over No. 9 Milford Oct. 26 as Alex Nassar scored both goals, then gained a 2-0 semifinal win over No. 4 Margaretville Nov. 1 with Brandon Mahajan and Nassar each scoring. In the title game Nov. 3, Notre Dame fell 2-1 to No. 2 Marathon in overtime despite Ryan Bayne’s second-half goal that made it 1-1. ND’s final record was 15-4.
ND girls’ soccer
The Crusaders reached the title match of Section 4 Class C as the No. 2 seed. They scored a 6-0 rout of No. 7 Unadilla Valley Oct. 24 as Hannah Haskell scored three goals, then earned a 1-0 semifinal win over third-seeded Lansing Oct. 27 as Haskell got the game’s only goal. In the Nov. 2 final against top-seeded Unatego, the Crusaders fell 1-0 despite 10 saves from goalie Sheridan Heine. ND’s final record was 15-3-1.
AQ girls’ soccer
The fifth-seeded Little Irish began the Section 5 Class A tournament with a quarterfinal win over No. 4 Honeoye Falls-Lima Oct. 27 in a game that was tied 1-1 at the end of overtime and decided 4-3 on penalty kicks. AQ then won 1-0 over No. 9 Pittsford Sutherland Nov. 2 as Sarah Dambra scored. Its bid for a sectional crown was halted by second-seeded Brighton, 1-0, in the Class A final Nov. 7. AQ’s final record was 10-7-2.
AQ girls’ tennis
The Irish reached the final of the Section 5 Class B team tournament. Aquinas, seeded second, won 4-1 over No. 7 Batavia Oct. 9 and 3-2 over No. 3 Penn Yan Oct. 10 before falling 3-2 to top-seeded Honeoye Falls-Lima in the championship Oct. 12.
* Our Lady of Mercy’s Shelby Delladio was her team’s highest finisher at the Section 5 Class B girls’ swimming championships Nov. 1. She placed second in the diving competition.
* McQuaid Jesuit football made the Section 5 Class A final four. The Knights, seeded fifth, won 38-21 over No. 4 Spencerport in a quarterfinal game Oct. 19 as Cory Parker erupted for five touchdowns on a school-record 369 rushing yards. A 27-24 double-overtime loss to No. 1-seeded Eastridge in the Oct. 26 semifinal round ended McQuaid’s season with a 5-4 record.
* Aquinas boys’ soccer reached the Section 5 Class A semifinals, winning 5-1 over No. 4 Pittsford Sutherland Oct. 26 as Paulin Kolodja scored three goals and Nick Shed added the other two. AQ’s season was ended on Nov. 1, 4-2 by No. 1 seed Pittsford Mendon, despite goals from Kolodja and Hugo Landberg. AQ ended with a 10-4-4 record.
* McQuaid boys’ soccer also made the final four as the No. 3 seed in Section 5 Class AA-2. The Knights won 3-2 over No. 6 Brockport in quarterfinal play Oct. 26 behind two goals from Pat Moynihan, including a second-half penalty kick that broke a 2-2 tie. A 1-0 loss to second-seeded Greece Athena Oct. 31 gave McQuaid a final record of 9-6-3.
* McQuaid’s Nick Ciolkowski earned a seventh-place finish in the Section 5 Class A boys’ cross-country championship meet Nov. 3. He posted a time of 16 minutes, 47 seconds on the 5-kilometer Genesee Community College course.
* Our Lady of Mercy’s Marissa McKnight reached the semifinal round of the Section 5 Class B/BB girls’ tennis championships.