High School Girls Soccer: Eden’s furthest run ends in final
N. Collins, Hamburg and Immaculata all fall deep into playoffs
During a playoff run a decade in the making, Eden beat higher seeds in three consecutive games to reach a program-first sectional championship tilt but couldn’t pull off a forth upset to keep its Cinderella season going.
The ninth-seeded Raiders lost 4-1 to No. 6 Akron in the Class B championship game on Saturday (Nov. 3) on a cold night in Amherst.
Before falling in the final, Eden went on a thrilling ride, pulling out a pre-quarterfinal in penalty kicks then winning consecutive 1-0 games over top-seeded City Honors and No. 5 Tonawanda, which had beaten the Raiders both times the teams had played in the regular season.
“We went into the playoff as the dark horse, but I knew we have a solid team,” said Eden head coach Jill Keller, who helped lead the program to a 15-5 season. “We came to enjoy our role as the spoiler.”
In the final, Eden senior Hannah Zittel scored in the first half to tie the game 1-1, but Akron got one right before halftime and built on that in the second. Senior goalkeeper Courtney Cross made some standout saves to keep the Raiders in the game. Keller said her team had difficulty getting offense going. She tried to move defender Sierra Puckhaber up front to attempt to increase the attack, but it was to no avail.
“We gave them a run for their money,” Keller noted.
In the win over Tonawanda on Wednesday (Oct. 31), senior Erin Dix scored on a shot to the low left corner off a pass from classmate Catherine Mammoser 13 minutes into the second half for the game’s lone goal. Cross recorded her second straight shutout and ninth of the season, making a few crucial saves, according to Keller.
Eighth grader Morgan Keppler was able to shut down the opponent’s top scorer for a second straight game as the defender closely played Kalyn Compeau. Senior captain Kathryn Villar also played well at fullback, while Jenny Morrow was solid at center defense.
Also, senior captains and three-year varsity starters Emily Carias, Alicia Roistacher and Zittel took charge in the midfield, Keller said. Mammoser finished with a team-leading 19 goals and 46 points.
“Making it to the final is huge for the soccer program at Eden, which coaches, athletic directors, parents and players have worked hard to develop over the past 10 years,” Keller said.
Also in a sectional final, second-seeded North Collins fell 3-0 to top-seeded Ellicottville in Class D on Friday (Nov. 2) at Pioneer. It was the third straight season Ellicottville beat the Eagles for the title.
One of Hamburg’s best playoff runs in recent seasons was ended in the Class A semifinals by Williamsville East, 4-2 on Thursday (Nov. 2). Hamburg took a 2-1 lead into halftime on Ashley Kabza and Kara Daly goals, but East scored three unanswered goals in the second half.
In the Monsignor Martin Small School final, fourth-seeded Immaculata was not able to pull another upset, losing to second-seeded Christian Central 3-0 on Sunday (Nov. 4) at St. Joe’s. The Bears had beaten top-seed Cardinal O’Hara in the semifinals.