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Clarence Girls Field Hockey Gets Rematch With Rival Williamsville North For Sectional Title

Heading into the Class A Section VI field hockey playoffs, observers figured second-seeded Clarence would most likely get a rematch with top-seed Williamsville North in the finals.

First up, though, came the semifinals. While North was in control throughout, Clarence endured a rather sluggish first half but eventually got things together.

The Red Devils tacked on two more and posted a 3-0 win over Lancaster in a game that was much more competitive than that final score may indicate on Wednesday at Williamsville North High School.

“Our team recognized that we had to play together as a unit,” Clarence coach Gina Stephan said. “We shook off all the nerves after the first half, which was good and that got us back to Clarence field hockey, which is quick movement up the field with the ball.”

Maggie Kelkenberg scored in the first half to give the Red Devils the edge at the break. In the second half, Clarence took control as Katelyn Scioli and Elise Bearance tacked on goals to secure the win.

“I think we did a better job in the second half than in the first half,” Stephan said. “We started out a little bit nervous, that’s how playoff hockey goes. But we want to be able to mature over the next week and be ready for finals, and that’s what we’re really excited about.”

Clarence moved to 16-1 with the victory, with the only loss a 2-1 setback against Williamsville North on Sept. 18. There will be a rematch next Thursday against the Spartans in the sectional championship game (will be played at Williamsville East, 6pm). The Spartans posted a 5-2 win over a spirited but overmatched Orchard Park club in Wednesday’s other semi.

It’ll be a challenge, but the Red Devils are ready for another rematch with the rival Spartans.

“We’re excited,” Stephan said, “We faced them last year (in the finals) too and we know all the coaches. So it’s like a friend-enemy thing. We love playing them because it’s the best hockey in Buffalo. We’re lucky to be on that journey and hopefully moving on a little bit further after that.”

As usual, Lancaster came out ready to play. The Legends put up a fight but the high-powered Red Devils proved to be too tough.

“My girls played a great game; they played hard for 60 minutes of field hockey and I can’t ask anything more than that,” Lancaster coach Crystal Schunke said.

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