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Grand Island Girls Soccer score big win over Niagara Wheatfield in huge NFL game Thurs

The Niagara Wheatfield girls soccer team came to visit perennial-powerhouse Grand Island ready to play on Thursday and for most of the evening, it seemed like neither side was going to give up an inch.  But the Vikings kept applying the pressure and finally seized the moment.

Midway through the second half, junior standout Brooke Amato took advantage of a turnover and broke a scoreless tie – then added two insurance goals for good measure. Grand Island posted a 3-0 Niagara Frontier League win over the previously undefeated Falcons in a game much closer than that final score suggests.

“It’s just continuing to work for the full 80 minutes, Vikings head coach Dave Bowman said. “That’s why I was proud of the girls; they continued to work and pressure. Every once in a while teams are going to make a mistake and you’re going to get a break and then it’s just a matter of whether you capitalize or not.”

As she often does, Amato capitalized. After missing part of GI’s last game against Niagara Falls with a sore quad, she showed no signs of injury with the game on the line. After a back-and-forth battle for the first 60 minutes of the game, she stripped a Falcons defender and then found the corner with 20:23 left for the game winner.

“We just pressured their defenders as much as we could,” Amato said. “I just stole it and then just hit the corner. That’s what I was trying to do.”

With Niagara Wheatfield forced to turn to an aggressive attack in an effort to get the equalizer, the Vikings added to the scoreboard. Amato scored with 11 minutes left off a nice feed from Sarah Berlinger and then iced it with a little more than a minute left; Abby Blair picking up the assist.

With the hat-trick, Amato has now scored more goals this season against Niagara Wheatfield (6-1-1) than every other player in the universe combined. The Falcons had outscored their first previous six opponents by a combined score 26-2 but came up a little short against the powerful Vikings.

“We didn’t play our best,” N-W coach Pete Cerny said. “I loved our effort but the goal is to play our best. We know playing Grand Island is going to be a good, close game and we needed be our best and we weren’t.”

After her big night, Amato now leads Grand Island with six goals. She was last year’s leading goal-scorer as well with 16 goals.

“I was very proud of Brooke,” Bowman said. “She finally broke through. She’s had a lot of opportunities and it was nice to see her make those opportunities count. She did a great job.”

Lydia Sweeney picked up her fourth shutout of the season for GI (5-1-1). The Vikings’ defense also welcomed back senior captain Alexa Chiarenza, who made her debut after missing the first six games with mononucleosis. She was needed against the high-powered Falcons.

“They’ve got a great team,” Bowman said of NW. “They’ve got a lot of great players and that’s what I was most proud of; that we kept it clean on that end because that’s a team that has a lot of great players that can hurt you. Our defense really stepped up.”

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