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Legends Overpower Orchard Park; Lackawanna Edges Maryvale to Claim Sectional Crowns

Captaining a team means having the responsibility of leading both on the field and in the huddle, ensuring that team morale is high no matter the state of affairs.

Leading on the stat sheet helps, too.

Lancaster’s three captains tallied each goal in the No. 3 Legends 4-1 victory over No. 4 Orchard Park, as they claimed the Section VI Class AA title on Saturday night at Sweet Home High School.

Earlier that same night, Lackawanna captain Ali Alomari tallied his 46th goal of the season to help lift the No. 6 Steelers to a sectional championship over No. 1 Maryvale, 3-2, in the Section VI Class B1 title game.

After 26 minutes of scoreless play in the first half between the Legends and Quakers, Riley Quinn finally found a breakthrough, as he headed in a corner kick to give Lancaster a 1-0 advantage, which they held onto until halftime.

Then, in the second half, William Breski gave the Legends (12-5-2) some much needed insurance thanks to a header that found the back of the net, and despite a swift Orchard Park (10-8-1) answer from Daniel Mahany 34 seconds later, the Lancaster captains weren’t done scoring just yet.

“As soon as I was named coach, I had these guys since JV, I knew who my captains would be, and they showed up today,” Lancaster coach Luciano Gallo said. “This team has just grown game by game … we proved everybody wrong today.”

Quinn buried his second of the match with just over 13 minutes left to play, and about seven minutes later, Alex Bona iced the game with his first goal of the season to secure the Legends win.

“We were pressuring them, we were trying to score and we were just playing as a team. That’s all we needed to do,” Quinn said on the Legends’ game plan after the Quakers brought it within one. “I can’t even describe the feeling right now … it’s been a while since we won and I’m just enjoying the moment right now with the team.”

Lancaster’s first sectional title since 2011 moves them on to the Class AA Far West Regional, which will take place on Nov. 9 at Hilton High School outside of Rochester.

While the Legends never trailed in their triumph, that was not the case for Class B1 champions Lackawanna (17-3-0), who overcame an early 1-0 deficit to claim their second sectional crown in three years.

“This win is a gift from the players to the Lackawanna City School District and the city of Lackawanna,” Steelers coach Abdul Norman said. “We have been practicing hard and the guys came, they really wanted it.”

After Alex Raczynski put Maryvale (15-3-1) on the board first 23 minutes and 30 seconds in, the underdog Steelers equalized just before halftime, as Kamal Abdullah deposited a long rebound into the net.

Then, under three minutes into the second half, Alomari gave Lackawanna the lead thanks in part to a mistake by the Maryvale goalkeeper, a lead they would hold onto the rest of the way.

“We’ve seen that the past three years I’ve been on varsity, I’ve seen that we’re one [goal] down,” Alomari said. “We just have to pick up the ball, get everybody going, and we’ll come back.”

Ahmed Daifallah netted the eventual game-winner for the Steelers with 10:23 left on the clock, as he sent a bullet of a shot out of the grasp of the Flyer goalkeeper to give Lackawanna a 3-1 lead.

Maryvale cut their deficit to one just over a minute later, but it was too little, too late for the Flyers.

Next up for Lackawanna is a date with ECIC IV rival Eden in the Class B crossover game at 5 p.m. on Nov. 4 at Sweet Home. The winner there advances to the Far West Regionals.

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