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Lady Billies Lacrosse Moves On to Class C Semi-Finals

Rick Hopkins knew Tuesday’s quarterfinal girls lacrosse game versus Grand Island would be a tight one.

He was right.

Third seeded Williamsville South defeated sixth seeded Grand Island 12-11 in the Section VI Class C South quarter-finals Tuesday afternoon in front of a nice crowd.

The Lady Billies and Vikings were knotted at five goals apiece after the first half and showed no signs of slowing down at the start of the second. The teams scored three goals in the opening minute of the second half before South finally pulled away for good in the final minutes of regulation.

Emma Petrie scored six goals and Keegan Gillman made fourteen saves in the victory. Elisabeth Sidorski and Nina Stephens each had a pair of goals and two assists while Anjani Verola and Anna Lorenzo rounded out the scoring for South.

The Vikings didn’t go quietly. Beth Wolcott broke the 5-5 tie, scoring early in the second half. Abigail Blair scored three times in the second half as well, giving Grand Island a 10-8 lead at one point. But the Billies were relentless in their pursuit.

Amanda Lawrence was a big reason why the game was so close. The Vikings goaltender made a number of big saves to help keep the Vikings in the game. “She has been our rock all year,” Blair said of her senior teammate. “We definitely lean on her quite a bit and she played great today.”

Gillman wasn’t nearly as busy as Lawrence but played a strong game as well. Gillman, a Lincoln Memorial (NCAA D-II) commit made a difficult save in the final minute of regulation to help preserve South’s one goal lead.

“I thought for sure this would be a close game,” Hopkins said now in his 10th year as head coach at South. “It took everything we had to win. We needed our 1-2-3 line to come through and they certainly did.” The 1-2-3 line is that of Sidorski, Stephens and Petrie who wear jersey numbers 1, 2, and 3 respectively, hence the nickname.

“We knew they had a really fast team, especially number 8,” Gillman said. “We just kept working and our communication on defense really helped out in slowing them down.”

Trailing 10-9 with a little over seven minutes left, Stephens found a burst of speed and ran straight up through the field and rifled a shot into the Grand Island net, tying the game. It was the momentum shift the Billies needed and soon after they took the lead for good.

Stephens is committed to play lacrosse at Mercyhurst in the fall while Sidorski will be playing field hockey at the University of Rochester. Gillman, Stephens and Sidorski were all Class C Second Team all-stars last season.

Petrie was a bit of an unknown for Hopkins’ squad this season. “She was a JV lacrosse player last year and also plays basketball,” Hopkins said. “We didn’t really get to see what she could do because of how well the basketball team did this past winter, so she started lacrosse a little late. Once she got out on the field and we saw how quick she was we knew she was going to be able to help us. She’s been a welcome addition.”

With the win Williamsville South moves onto the semi-final round for just the fourth time in school history. They will take on Amherst in a repeat of the 2018 semifinal.

“They are a very fast team, tough defensively,” Hopkins said. ‘”We played them earlier in the year and lost 8-4, but we were tied 4-4 at the half. It’ll be a very tough game for us but we welcome the challenge.”

Amherst defeated East Aurora and will host Williamsville South on Thursday.

Williamsville North will host the sectional finals next Wednesday, May 29th.

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