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Faso More Than a Leader as Clarence Wins sixth-straight Sectional Title

Scoring the game-winning goal in a sectional championship would normally be the highlight of your week, maybe even the entire season.

But according to Clarence High School Girls Soccer coach Dave Stephan that was far from the most impressive thing senior Emma Faso did that day.

Once they got on the bus to Williamsville East High School, all the Red Devils were focused on was the impending Section VI Class AA championship game and their opponent, the Williamsville North Spartans.

But not long after the team bus left Clarence High School they came upon another Clarence bus that was in an accident.

It was Faso who stood up and called on the team to momentarily take their minds off the game and pray.

“Honestly, I thought of the Humboldt hockey team,” Faso said. “Anyone could’ve been on that bus; it could’ve been our bus. We’re huge on praying on this team for anything. I just said, ‘turn off the music, we can’t get hyped right now. We have to pray for our classmates, you don’t know who’s on that bus.’ It brought us together and settled us down.”

It’s not often you see a high school senior step up in that situation, but if anyone on the team was going to do it Stephan knew it was going to be Faso.

“That right there will tell you what kind of person she is,” Stephan said. “She’s an unbelievable player and person. It goes really, really deep.”

It was Faso’s goal, which came with 30:16 left in the second half, that broke a scoreless tie and was all the Red Devils needed, besting Will North 2-0 to capture their sixth-straight sectional title.

Clarence will head to Webster Schroeder for the Far West Regionals where they will the face the Section V champion Warriors on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

“It’s ‘Family,'” Faso said. “I’ve had tons of veterans texting me this week saying ‘good luck.’ We have rituals and we keep the streak going because we’re all family. Every time you leave the field wearing a Clarence jersey you are friends with everyone.”

The Spartans controlled possession during most of the first half. However, they had trouble getting the ball out of their own end.

“At halftime, Faso was talking about ‘family’,” Stephan said. “We’re here together. She said ‘if we lose, we lose together as sisters.’ It’s a special atmosphere. A lot of times I step away to see what kind of group this is.”

Madison West added another goal, converting a penalty kick opportunity, with about four minutes left.

“The talk the entire year has been we’re not coming home without a state title,” Stephan said. “That’s been our goal since the middle of December.”

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