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Clarence Boys Soccer Completes Perfect League Season With Shutout of OP

The Clarence High School boys soccer team has a bye into the Section VI Class AA semifinals so that meant Wednesday’s ECIC I finale was going to be the Red Devils’ final chance to enjoy their home turf in game action.

After a sluggish first start, Clarence made sure to make it a memorable farewell. The Red Devils played their customary shut down defense and came alive in the second half offensively, posting a 3-0 win over ECIC I rival Orchard Park on a rainy afternoon, securing another undefeated league season.

“We don’t get another home game so we wanted to end it (at home) the way we started this year, the seniors deserve it,” said coach Mike Silverstein, whose Red Devils outscored visitors 31-1 in games in Clarence this regular season. The Red Devils stand at 14-0-1 overall and ended division play at a dominant 12-0-0.

“It’s been great, undefeated in the league,” said senior Taha Ahmed, who recorded a goal and an assist against the Quakers. “It’s not something we really think about. We’ve been taking it game-by-game but it’s great to be undefeated against the great teams we play.”

Clarence won yet another ECIC I championship with the program’s trademark process of defense first. The Red Devils allowed just one goal in the regular season against ECIC I opponents, a mop-up score in the 76th minute by West Seneca West’s Mikkel Thorsen in a 5-1 Clarence win on Oct. 9. Everybody else got shut out.

“Big props to our defense,” Ahmed said. “They’ve been excellent this season.”

The game was scoreless into the second half until Jerry Sorrentino headed in the game-winner with the assist from Massimo Battaglia.

Less than two minutes later, Luke Webster scored from Ahmed. In the 60th minute, Ahmed netted his 11th of the year on an impressive effort.

“He’s our go-to offensive player but I like that he’s getting other players involved,” Silverstein said. “We can’t go through a long playoff run with just Taha scoring, we need others to step up.”

Clarence is undefeated heading into its last regular season contest but the final non-league game is an enormous challenge. On Friday, the Red Devils head down to Erie to take on Cathedral Prep, a Top 25 team in the country.

“This is an opportunity for to us to not only test ourselves in every aspect of the game but also learn from things,” Silverstein said. “They’re rolling along. We’ll have our hands full down there.”

After that, the chase starts for a fourth straight sectional championship. Clarence has won 10 of the last 12 Section VI titles.

“We’re always looking for a championship,” Ahmed said. “It’s been a great season so far and we just want to keep it going.”

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