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Teamwork pulls Tigers past Grand Island

Scheme, talent and skill all are a part of having success.

But teamwork is what wins games.

All season long the Amherst Tigers Girls Lacrosse coaching staff has preached to its players to play together.

Tuesday night, the Tigers listened and played as one unit.

The results speak for themselves.

No. 2 seed Amherst scored six-straight goals in the second half as they trounced the No. 7 seed Grand Island Vikings, 12-5, in the Section VI Class C Girls Lacrosse quarterfinals.

“We really try to emphasize it’s a team,” Amherst assistant coach Casey McGuire said. “(The girls) played well as a unit tonight. When all the lanes are clicking, this team is something special.”

Amherst will host No. 6 Williamsville South in the Class C semifinals on Thursday at 5 p.m.

Junior Grace Van Buren was the catalyst, scoring all of three of her goals during the 13-minute second half run.

“We didn’t let up no matter how big our lead got,” said Van Buren, who also had three assists in the win. “We just kept playing hard. Our transition was really good, helping us score a lot of goals.”

The Tigers got on the board first when junior Leah Shutts took advantage of a free position chance from five yards out. Freshman Krysta Frankowski took a pass from Van Buren and cut to the net for a quick goal.

Grand Island answered back a few minutes later as senior Rosie Boyko came from behind the net and slipped the ball past for the goal with 17:27 left in the first half.

The two sides when back and forth until junior Charleigh Rondeau participated in back-to-back Tiger goals, just 19 seconds apart. Rondeau found classmate Caroline Yoder in front of the net for the quick score. Then Van Buren sent a centering pass to Rondeau who put it home to give Amherst the 6-3 lead at the half.

Vikings sophomore Lydia Sweeney, who ended the game with three goals, scored just 35 seconds into the second half to cut the deficit to two, but that was as close as Grand Island would get.

Sweeney, along with midfielder Abby Blair are part of a young core that the Vikings have high hopes for moving forward.

“We’re super young,” Grand Island coach Jennifer Shalke said. “I start a lot of freshmen and sophomores mixed in with some seniors. I was really proud of these girls. They never stopped until the final the whistle. I’m looking forward to the future.”

Van Buren started the Tigers’ run with back-to-back goals and fought threw two Viking defenders to score her third, as her team took a 10-4 lead with 14:50 left.

“She’s a silent leader,” McGuire said. “The kids really look to her for that momentum. Her strength and athleticism are almost unparalleled. She’s a Rockstar.”

Rondeau finished with two goals and one assist. Yoder, Frankowski and Shutts each had a pair of goals.

For the Tigers, Tuesday night will serve as a blueprint as they move on to the semifinals.

“How we played today is how we want to play all the time,” McGuire said. “We need to hold our composure and all work together.”

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