Barker, Akron to renew field hockey rivalry in Class C final

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 4 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Niagara-Orleans League field hockey rivals Barker and Akron will play for the Section VI Class C title Wednesday at Amherst. Shown here during a regular season meeting are Barker’s Liz Luckman (15) and Akron’s Sarah Schultz (2).

For the sixth time in the last seven years Niagara-Orleans League rivals No. 1 seed Barker and No. 2 Akron will meet for the Section VI Class C field hockey championship at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Amherst High School.

“It’s a pretty regular occasion for the two teams to meet in the finals,” said Barker Coach Jeff Costello.”It’s a challenge as there are no secrets between the two teams.”

Barker’s attack has been led by Gabby Clare, who had 13 goals and 9 assists in 12 league games, Melissa Grosshans (12 goals) and Erin Greenwald (11 goals).

Spearheading the Akron attack have been Molly Jennings (11 goals), Ashton Witzleben (9 goals), Sarah Schultz (8 goals) and Abigail Stone (8 goals).

“They are a great team so we need to be on our A game,” said Akron Coach Mary Borden. “Every girl has to step up and everything we have practiced has to come into place.”

Barker, which went 12-0 this season to claim a 9th straight N-O title registered 11 shutouts while Akron, which went 9-3, had eight shutouts.

“They are a team that really likes to play in the middle of the field and hit hard balls so we really have to be ready defensively,” said Costello. “We need to keep our coverage the way it should be played. We just need to play our game.”

Barker, which downed Akron twice during the N-O season by scores of 1-0 and 4-0 has also bested the Lady Tigers each of the last five times they have met in the sectional finals by margins of 1-0 in 2012, 3-0 in 2011, 5-0 in 2010, 3-0 in 2009 and 5-0 in 2008. The Lady Raiders defeated Eden 3-1 in last year’s title contest.

The winner will advance to the Far West Regional on November 10 against the Section V representative.