Gene Masters Field and the Grand Island Girls soccer program have been part of some historic moments.
Thursday night will go right up there.
In a 4-0 victory over the Lockport Lions, Vikings’ head coach Dave Bowman picked up his 200th varsity career win.
Bowman was humbled after reaching the mark and made sure to thank you those who helped him along the way, especially his staff.
“I couldn’t have asked to do it in a better district. All the superintendents, administrators and our AD Jon Roth has been phenomenal and great to work with,” Bowman said. “I remember names and faces and I could tell you where they’ve gone and what they’ve done. The young ladies that have come through the program have been a pleasure. I get to put the tally up but it’s all the girls’ work that earns it.”
Grand Island took control of the game right off the opening kick-off bringing the ball into the Lion end. Vikings’ forward Sarah Berlinger had an open opportunity from 15 yards out but her shot went right of the net.
Sophomore Brooke Amato took advantage of open area in the middle of the field hit one from 20 yards out in the fifth minute to put Grand Islandon the board.
The Vikings continued to be aggressive against a weak Lockport defense, as they attempted shot after shot toward to Lion net.
Grand Island got the lead 2-0 lead just five minutes later as senior captain Ana Mascaro dropped one in over the Lockport goalie in the 10th minute.
Despite facing a Viking onslaught, Lockport goalkeeper Hannah Mullan remained composed stopping several point close shot attempts late in the first and throughout the second half.
Still, the Grand Island offense stayed strong. Fifth-year varsity midfielder Grace Stranahan’s shot went off the hands of Mullan and this time found its way into the net.
After several corners in matter of a couple of minutes in the Lion end, Grand Island finally converted. The original kick from the corner went off the hands of Mullan and then ping ponged between players of on both sides before it got to sophomore Mikayla Robinson who fired it in from the right side for the game’s final goal.
Senior goalkeeper Sarah Bykowicz is glad to have Bowman as her coach.
“He’s always been pushing us to do better no matter what,” Bykowicz said.
When combined with his time on the junior varsity Bowman has won over 300 games in his 20 years with the Grand Island girls’ soccer program. He took over as head coach of the varsity team in 2005. Since then he had lead the team to a state semifinal, gathered a few Far West Regional championships and won five Sectional VI titles.
Last season, the Lady Vikings celebrated Madisyn Pezzino becoming the all-time career goal scorer in state history in an 8-0 win over the Lions. She is now playing Division-I soccer at Florida State. Pezzino is just the top of a strong group of alumni that Bowman has coached over the years. Others have also gone on to play at the next level and many are now coaching and running other soccer programs.
Bowman made sure to also attribute the achievement to the youth soccer programs in the town of Grand Island.
“Grand Island is a hot bed for soccer,” Bowman said. “The players keep coming and coming so it makes my job easy. The programs all the way from the house league to the travel program is great. When the kids get to the high school level they often times have the talent and the soccer IQ. It’s a matter of us putting the pieces together.”
The win keeps the Lady Vikings undefeated this season. Grand Island (7-0, 5-0 NFL) will head to Kenmore West Monday for a 4:45 p.m. game.