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Monday, Nov. 17, 2014: Recapping Sunday's soccer, field hockey and volleyball

   Leading off today: A season that began with the most ludicrous coaching dismissal of the year ended Sunday with Greece Athena's first NYSPHSAA boys soccer championship.

   Senior R.J. Nichol scored twice in the second half as the Trojans defeated East Hampton 4-2 in the Class A final in Middletown. A Nichol goal with 22 minutes to play gave Athena a 3-1 lead, and he restored the two-goal advantage with under 11 minutes to go.

   Athena was thrown into turmoil over the summer when the school board overruled the principal, AD and superintendent by refusing to reappoint 12-year coach Bill Hueber, with a decisive vote against him cast by a board member who was cut by Hueber during his playing days a decade ago.

   Athena stumbled out of the gate 3-5-1 under replacement Mike Butler but lose just once more en route to a final 16-6-1 record.

   More boys soccer: International Prep, the first Section 6 Class D team to so much as win a tournament game since 1994, earned its first New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship by beating Mount Academy 3-2 in the first overtime.

   Pa Lu connected with the golden goal with 5:34 left in the OT after Mount Academy tied late in regulation.

   Commack (Class A), Mattituck (B) and Rhinebeck (C) earned the other boys championships.

   Girls soccer: Massapequa won its fifth Class AA crown since 2003 and Arkport locked down Class D for the third time since 2006. Everything else belonged to Section 1.

   Bronxville (B) and Haldane (C) posted shutouts as the section matched its 2008 mastery with three championships. The third came from first-time winner Somers, which posted a 3-1 decision in Class A in Cortland vs. Rockville Centre South Side, a 17-time champion since 1987.

   Three years ago, Somers lost the state title to South Side in the last minute of quadruple overtime.

   "I still wake up in the middle of the night, seeing that ball dribbling in the goal," Somers first-year head coach Paul Saia, who was the assistant coach at the time, told The Journal News.

   Somers (22-0), scored 4:33 into Sunday's final as Hannon Eberts took a feed from Ciara Ostrander and fired past Cyclones goalkeeper Kayla Klarides, then scored in the first two minutes of the second half as Melina Couzis headed in Ostrander's header.

   Gabrielle Lucas of South Side cut the lead in half with 13:56 left, but Somers closed it out with 7:43 left on a finishing touch by Melissa Righetti.

   "This year had been incredible," said Somers senior Hayley Bonner, who played in the 2011 loss. "This means the entire world."

   Field hockey: Lakeland's 3-1 win over Garden City in Class B was win No. 52 in a row and marked the Hornets' sixth straight NYSPHSAA championship.


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  •    "The feeling never gets old," coach Sharon Sarsen said. "There are some really strong teams in Class B, including Garden City. No matter what challenges we faced, the girls were up to it."

       Lakeland earned the game's first corner less than two minutes in, and Emily Power converted a rebound of Brianna Muniz's shot for a 1-0 lead. Garden City tied less than a minute later, but Lakeland took the lead for good with 15:54 left in the half as senior Molly Fitzpatrick tipped in a rebound.

       "I wish I could keep playing with this team," Fitzpatrick said. "It was a special way to end."

       Mamaroneck (Class A) and Whitney Point (C) won the day's other finals at Maine-Endwell.

       Girls volleyball: The maximum five sets were not enough in two of the finals at Glens Falls Civic Center as Pittsford Sutherland was extended to 28-26 in the decider by Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in Class A and Portville outlasted Haldane 26-24 in Class D.

       Suffern (Class A), Williamsville South (B) and Eden (C) won the other finals of the two-day tournament.

       Eden's three-game sweep of Broadalbin-Perth made it six straight titles (the first two were in Class B) and 12 since the tournament was introduced in 1990. The effort included rallying from a 10-4 deficit in the second set, prompting coach Stephen Pierce to call a timeout.

       "We made nine unforced errors," he told The Buffalo News. "Really it was just settling them down and trying to minimize the errors."

       The Raiders went on to outscore Broadalbin-Perth 21-8 the rest of the game and never trailed in the third set. Sophomore Sam Burgio (22 kills) was named the tournament MVP.

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