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Barker faces Eden in Class C field hockey final

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 October 2018 at 5:40 pm

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barker goalie Paige Sandolfini, at right, and her Lady Raider teammates will take on Eden for the Section VI Class C title on Thursday at Williamsville North.

Top seeded Barker will look to keep the momentum from last week’s 3-2 overtime semifinal win over Niagara-Orleans League rival Akron when the Lady Raiders face another challenging test in No. 3 Eden for the Section VI Class C field hockey championship at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Williamsville North.

Eden advanced to the finals by blanking No. 2 Roy-Hart 2-0 in the semis.

Eden is 11-5-2 overall having played a schedule primarily against Class A and B teams.  The Lady Raiders have defeated Iroquois 2-1 and tied Pioneer 2-2 who are meeting for the Class B title. They have also defeated Sweet Home 2-1, Amherst 2-0 and Williamsville South 2-1.

For Barker, gaining a berth in the finals has become virtually an annual part of the schedule. Since 2002 when the state went to a three class system (A, B and C) for the playoffs the Lady Raiders have advanced to the sectional finals every year but one. The Lady Raiders have compiled a 12-3 record in the finals since 2002.

Barker’s last title win was in 2016 with a 1-0 shootout win over Akron. Last fall Akron bested Barker 2-1.

Barker last met Eden in the finals in 2013 claiming a 3-1 victory. Last fall Barker nipped Eden 1-0 in a marathon shootout in the quarterfinals.

Barker, which is 13-1 including league and sectional games, has been led offensively by Katrina Clare with 26 goals. Rachel Hurtgam has added 12 goals, Emily Wagner 8, Lena Fazzolari 7 and Natalie Bruning and Ciara Gregoire 6 each. Bruning also has had 9 assists, Clare and Gregoire 4 and Hurtgam and Fazzolari 3.

“After playing Eden last season in a marathon game in the quarter finals we knew they were going to have a strong team this year. Them being the in the finals is no surprise to our coaching staff or players. We are very aware of their key victories this season and tightly contested games against some of the best teams in the ECIC,” said Coach Jeff Costello. “One thing is for sure…A maroon and white Raiders team will be crowned champion at Will North on Thursday. All kidding aside, we know that they are a strong defensive team and have a fantastic goalie. As was mentioned earlier we saw them last season in the post season and we have also scouted them several times this season. The waiting game since semis is over and our girls are eager to get the game started. As Ciara Gregoire recently stated in a team huddle, “We just need to go out and play field hockey!”

The victor will face Section V’s East Rochester in the Far West Regional on Saturday at Penfield at 7 p.m..