Among large schools, Cinderella resides in Brighton for the Section V soccer semifinals.
The Barons’ girls and boys teams are each underdogs but have the chance to once again show that what happens in the postseason usually trumps anything that happens in the regular season. The eighth-seeded boys, who are just 6-10-2, knocked off top-seeded Canandaigua via penalty kicks on Friday and on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Spencerport play fourth-seeded Greece Arcadia (8-8-1) in the Class A1 semifinals. No. 3 Brockport and two-time defending champion Greece Athena would be next in Friday’s title match. Coach Adam Hiller’s club last won back-to-back crowns for Brighton in 2011 and 2012, ending an eight-year title drought.
As for the girls, they’ve been down this road before. Just last season coach Rita Kladstrup’s squad won the Class A championship as a No. 9 seed. It upset No. 2 Wayne, 2-0, in double overtime in the title match after stunning No. 1 Spencerport, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. Guess who the Barons (8-8-2) face in Wednesday’s 7:30 semis at Hilton? You guessed it: No. 1 Spencerport, which is 16-0-1.
Here are four other things I have my eye on over the next couple nights in Section V soccer:
Cougars charging: Don’t look now, but the Honeoye Falls-Lima boys are in good shape to three-peat as a Section V champion. Eleventh-year coach Mike Merrill has done a terrific job building that program into one that competes for titles year in and year out. Top-seed HF-L (14-3-1) plays No. 4 Eastridge (11-7) at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals at Mendon. HF-L has beaten the Lancers 3-1 and 3-0 this fall. Either No. 3 Wayne (12-6) or No. 2 Wilson (10-5) awaits in Friday’s final. Surprisingly, Wayne has never won a crown and it has had some decent contenders over the years. But if the Cougars reach Friday, they’ll be favored to win then, too.
Big Green going for gold: Canandaigua and Naples were the only boys teams to finish the regular season unbeaten. Technically, the Braves didn’t lose to Brighton in the quarterfinals, they played a tie and were eliminated on penalty kicks, so they finished 14-0-3. Naples is still alive in Class D1 and the Finger Lakes West champions are 16-0-1 as they face Fillmore (14-4) in the semis at Hornell at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Naples, coached by Ryan Betrus, hasn’t won a title since 2000, the last of seven when the late Gary Schenk coached. He was a legend in that town and died tragically on the soccer field during practice in 2011.
Another Cinderella: It’s tough to call soccer teams from Aquinas and Pittsford “Cinderellas” because, well, it’s AQ and Mendon — schools that have won a whole lot of hardware over the years. But one of them will play for the Class A title on Saturday. No. 7 Aquinas (9-5-4) and No. 11 Mendon (8-8-2) square off in Wednesday’s 5 p.m. semis at Hilton. They each won their last crown in 2014, Aquinas in Class B and Mendon in Class A. No. 1 Spencerport or No. 12 and defending champion Brighton will be waiting in the final. Mendon upset Mercy on PKs in the first round, then took down No. 3 Brockport, 2-1, on a goal and assist from Anna Ecklund. Aquinas beat Mendon 2-1 in their season opener. Junior Alana Piano is the Little Irish’s top scorer with 12 goals and seven assists. Aquinas’ last title game was in 2014. Before that, it won five straight or shared a crown 2004 and 2008.
Battle of Webster on Thursday: It took a pair of upsets for it to happen, but Schroeder and Thomas pulled them off in Friday’s Class AA boys quarterfinals to ensure that one team from Webster will play for the Section V crown next Tuesday night. Sixth-seeded Schroeder outlasted No. 3 McQuaid on PKs and Thomas, a tough team to beat all fall, upset No. 2 and defending champion, Hilton, 4-2. Two goals by Nick Cullen in the first four minutes rocked Hilton and gave the Titans’ defense plenty with which to work. It should be a cool atmosphere, literally and figuratively, on Thursday at Rhinos Stadium when Thomas and Schroeder hook up at 7:30 p.m. shortly after No. 1 Fairport plays No. 4 Rush-Henrietta. Thomas and Schroeder split two regular-season meetings, each by the same 2-1 score.