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Chunco’s Hat Trick Leads Panthers Over Tonawanda

Write your own chapter in our history book.

That’s the message coach Chelsea Buzyniski has been telling her team all season.

Wednesday afternoon the Panthers did just that.

Sophomore Rachel Chunco scored three times as No. 9 Newfane beat No. 8 Tonawanda in their Section VI Class B-1 prequarterfinal match up.

The Panthers now prepare for the overwhelming task of facing top-seed East Aurora in Friday’s quarterfinals.

For a team that lost six starters from its Class B championship squad the most important thing the Panthers learned was that they don’t have to replicate what last year’s team and star players Emily Foltz and Kayleigh Daniels achieved.

Just match the work ethic and good things will come from there.

“I said I’m not expecting you to be them, but we need to work at the level they were at,” Buzyniski said. “We might not get the results we want, but as long as we’re working hard and putting the effort in we should see results.”

Chunco scored the first of her three goals at the 9-minute mark. Baylin Tighe would tie the game a few minutes later with the 51st goal of her career.

Chunco’s game winner came midway through the first half. She would also cap off the scoring for her team in the second half.

“We were trying to fill their shoes,” Chunco said. “But then as the season went on we realized we need to prove who we are.”

Lila Mauerer helped the Panthers take a 3-1 lead into halftime.

Collecting just one win in the previous eight games reveals that this season was a learning experience for this young Panther squad.

But they clearly learned their lessons well as they controlled the pace of play and were relentless on offense.

For first-year Tonawanda coach Rachelle Matthys’ young team – 8 underclassmen – this was also a year of learning. Moving forward after losing leading scorer Hope Balling the Warriors had to create a new identity. The Warrior youth experienced a trial by fire that will only make them better as long as they learn from each game.

“You never want to end on a loss,” Matthys said. “At this point what I hope they can take away and do take away is from a game like this is seeing those skilled players, and just their size too. They’re strong players on Newfane and they play well. They kept coming at us.”

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