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Will North returns to Class AA Finals with win over N-W

Williamsville North forward Melanie Krysiak was running against the wind – and a powerful Niagara-Wheatfield team in the 72nd minute in a Class AA Section VI girls soccer semifinal on Tuesday. But the Spartans junior seized an opportunity to get her team back to the sectional title game.

Krysiak’s goal with 8:04 left in the second half was the game-winner and third-seeded Williamsville North posted an exciting 2-1 win over No. 2-seed Niagara-Wheatfield at Williamsville South High School.

“I saw the goalie coming out and I decided that I should go for it and try to get my team to the finals again,” she said. “With the wind, it was very hard to judge the ball as it was coming in … I just kind of stuck a foot out and tried to go for it.”

She did just that when it mattered most. The second half was tough for the Spartans with the a strong breeze in their faces in the second half but with time winding down Jenna Sylvester’s overhead pass was misplayed by a Wheatfield defender –    giving North its big opportunity. Krysiak delivered with her fifth goal of the season.

“The wind played a big factor definitely,” North coach Doug Kircher said. “We got that one big opportunity and we finished it.”

The Spartans controlled much of the play against the Falcons, who came in ranked 17th in New York State. With the wind at its back, Williamsville North outshot Niagara-Wheatfield 13-4 and opened the scoring in the 15th minute as Krysiak launched the ball towards the goal and Lianna Vansice was in the right place and tapped in a juicy rebound.

But Niagara-Wheatfield responded in the 30th minute as Samantha Maghrak scored off an assist from Erin Weir.

“We were a little disappointed we gave up tying goal with the wind, so told the girls that we’ve got to bear down against the wind and play really solid defense,” Kircher said. “They stepped up and did a great job in the second half.”

Williamsville North (14-4) will play top-seed Clarence (15-2-1) at 6 p.m. Monday back at Williamsville South. Top-seeded Clarence knocked off Orchard Park 4-0 in the other Class AA semi on Tuesday.  Emma Faso scored two goals for the Red Devils and added an assist on the other goal scored by Emily Jebens. Megan McCraith and Isabelle Andzell assisted on Faso’s two goals.

It’ll be a rematch of last year’s Class AA championship game. Last season, the red-hot Red Devils were expected to demolish North in the finals but the Spartans proved to be a worthy opponent and battled to the wire in a 2-1 loss. This time around, Williamsville North isn’t going to settle for a moral win.

“I think we’re going to go all the way this year,” Krysiak said. “I think this is our year.”

Meanwhile, Niagara-Wheatfield finished its season at 14-3 with the only other two losses coming to Class A powerhouse Grand Island.  The Falcons went toe-to-toe with Williamsville North again but just like last season, departed from the postseason with a one-goal loss to the Spartans.

“They stuck together; they did everything we wanted to focus on,” Wheatfield coach Pete Cerny “The game today came down to a couple of decisions that didn’t go our way.”

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