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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Red Devils Channel ‘Strength of Survivors’ in Win Over Will South

There’s a lot for the Clarence High School Field Hockey team to be proud of this season.

And none of it has to do with their 12-1 record.

Over the past month, the girls made and sold 200 bracelets to raise money to help those affected by breast cancer.

According to Red Devils co-coach Marisa Faso, the girls made around $400, which will be split between the Play4TheCure campaign and Pat Marvin, the former Holland Field Hockey coach who recently received a second breast cancer diagnosis.

At halftime of Wednesday’s 5-0 win over Williamsville South, Faso told those in attendance that the team participated in the Play4TheCure campaign and all the work the girls have done. Several families took the field as well getting roses from their players.

“It was nice to see everyone support each other in a fundraiser,” co-coach Gina Stephan said. “Everyone was in it for each other.”

It’s a cause that’s very near and dear for a Red Devils team of which nearly a dozen players have been directly affected by the disease.

“They were pretty emotional today,” Faso said. “We spoke about the ‘strength of survivors’ and what they would want to see in the game. We were able to channel that charisma and courage and play really strong.”

Senior Morgan Berndt seemed to channel her grandmother’s ‘strength of being a survivor’. After giving a rose to her grandmother during the ceremony, Berndt quickly found the back of the net just a minute and 20 seconds into the second half giving her team a 4-0 lead.

Freshman Madison Leeper also had a personal connection to cancer. She too felt she was playing for something bigger than herself.

“I kept thinking to myself that we are playing for the people that were diagnosed with cancer it felt right to play out of my mind for them,” said Leeper, who had two goals in the win.

“Her stick is always on the floor,” Faso said of Leeper. “Her pulls are really strong. She plays ice hockey which she’s able to bring in here. She’s been on the team since last year. She’s really developed.”

The win also helps the Red Devils keep pace with Williamsville North – both teams who are competing for the top seed in the Section VI Class A playoffs as the regular season wraps up in two weeks.

Despite Wednesday’s result, the Billies have been having a strong year going 9-3 so far this season, currently third in the Class B playoff standings.

“We came out flat and we never really recovered today,” Williamsville South coach Mary Ferenczy said. “I feel that we could’ve given them a better game today. They all worked hard but we didn’t work together. Heading into the postseason we need to work on communication.”

Sophomore Elise Bearance found junior Katelyn Scioli for the game’s first goal with 16:32 left in the first half. Junior Maggie Kelkenberg came up with the final score of the game with 23 minutes left for her section-best 25th goal of the season.

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