Barker rallies past Akron to retain sectional field hockey title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Gabby Clare (12) scores Barker’s first goal against Akron defender Loriann Blenker (10) during the Lady Raiders narrow Section VI Class C title win over the Lady Tigers this evening at Amherst.

Rallying for a pair of second half goals, top seeded Barker nipped Niagara-Orleans League rival No. 2 seed Akron 2-1 in the Section VI Class C field hockey championship game this evening at Amherst High School.

Gabby Clare and Madison Greenwald scored the goals for Barker which captured its seventh straight sectional title to earn a trip to the state Far West Regional.

Akron jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first half on a goal by Sarah Schultz with 7:01 remaining.

The Lady Tigers also nearly had another goal earlier in the half but Barker goalie Caitlyn Mason came up with a big save.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barker captains Kelsey Blackley (18) and Morgan Brown (5) and head Coach Jeff Costello receive the sectional championship plaque from Section VI Chairman Judith Otto.

Barker came battling back early in the second half as Clare scored the equalizer on a line shot from close range just 7:10 into the second half.

Keeping the momentum, the Lady Raiders quickly netted what proved to be the game winner just five minutes later on a shot by Greenwald.

Barker, which had a 7-2 advantage in corner opportunities in the second half, then kept possession for most the final 15 minutes to lock up the title.

Akron’s best scoring opportunity in the second half came on back-to-back corner chances just after Barker had tied the game but the Lady Tigers could not capitalize.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barker’s Melissa Grosshans (23) takes a shot against Akron defenders Loriann Blenker (10) and Cierra Janis (17).

“We’re not in that position of being behind very often but we fought back very well,” said Barker Coach Jeff Costello. “We had to deal with adversity like that on our trip to Pennsylvania (two non league games against larger schools in which Barker earned a win and a tie) and I think that experience helped us today. We had a real strong last 15 to 20 minutes.”

It marked the sixth time in the last seven years that Barker has bested Akron in the sectional finals. Last year the Lady Raiders downed Eden in the title contest.

Barker, which is now 16-0-1, will next face East Rochester next Monday in the Far West Regional.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barker players and coaches display their championship plaque.