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Vikings Finally Put Out The Flames

The Section VI Girls Soccer Class A1 final between the Grand Island Vikings and the Williamsville East Flames was certainly a star-studded event. On one side, there was the second leading scorer in Section VI and Ohio State soccer commit, Marissa Birzon, leading the Flames. On the other side was the NYSPHSAA all-time scoring record holder and Florida State soccer commit, Madisyn Pezzino, leading the Vikings. In the end, it was Pezzino and the Vikings who came out on top beating Birzon and the Flames 3-1.

Both sides knew that the other was going to go after the stars, but as Grand Island Head Coach Dave Bowman put it, the game was going to come down to the supporting casts. “It was going to come down to what the rest of the team did and who showed up for them,” said Bowman.

Pezzino put the Vikings on the board early. The senior scored on a 25-yard kick off her left foot, just four minutes into the game.

Birzon had a really good chance to tie on a free kick that went just off the top left corner of the net, halfway through the first half.

The Williamsville East career scoring record holder then capitalized on a Viking foul in front of the net, scoring on a penalty kick in the final minute of the first half to tie the game.

The score remained deadlocked until Pezzino took advantage of bad communication and knocked the ball into the Flames’ net, 15 minutes into the second half.

With two minutes left the State record holder scored on a breakaway goal to seal it.

“2-1 you know they’re still in the game, getting it 3-1 is a huge weight off your shoulders,” said Pezzino.

Not only did Grand Island earn themselves a spot in the Class A final, but they do it while avenging the Flames, who had beaten them in the past two Sectional finals.

“We talked all year that we wanted to get to this game. The fact that it was Will East it makes it nice because Will East is probably the other top program out there right now,” said Bowman. “This is the way it should’ve been.”

Williamsville East Head Coach Chris Durr was proud of his team after the loss. “(Grand Island is) a pretty experienced team, I thought our kids played great. We had as many scoring chances as them, we just didn’t finish like they did,” said Durr.

“Honestly it’s the most amazing feeling. After the second goal I almost started crying,” said Pezzino. “We wanted this so bad.”

On Tuesday, the Vikings will play Amherst, who defeated Lew-Port 3-2 in the proceeding game, in the Section VI Class A Girls Soccer final at 7:30pm at Williamsville North High School.

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