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Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015: Kenmore East hockey advances in four OTs

   Leading off today: Junior A.J. Marinelli scored 28 seconds into the fourth overtime to lift Kenmore East over Hamburg 1-0 in the Section 6 Division II boys hockey semifinals.

   Kenmore East is ranked 11th and Hamburg eighth in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association ratings. Kenmore East (15-5-2) moves on to play No. 3 Williamsville East on Monday in the sectional final.

   Marinelli one-touched a pass from the left wing after a turnover past goalie Griffin Coppola to end the game. Coppola finished with 46 saves, and Kenmore East's Bradley Hermann made 35 stops for the shutout.

   "I'm glad it was a well-earned goal that decided it because both teams had just played their hearts out and left it out on the ice," Kenmore East coach Kyle Pray said.

   NYC schools under fire: New York City's Department of Education will survey girls in eighth to 12th grades at every school across the city this spring about the sports they want added, according to a settlement the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights released this week.

   A federal investigation concluded the city's school system violated Title IX by shortchanging girls by a total of 3,862 spots in athletic programs. The investigation found schools failed to accommodate girls' interest in volleyball, softball, swimming, soccer and cross country among other sports.

   The Department of Education was ordered to develop a process for students to request additional sports options, provide a description of all sports offerings at each high school in physical education classes and provide Title IX training to all athletic directors.

   The city's Department of Education denies being out of compliance with the 1972 law that requires high school girls to be provided equal opportunities with boys to play sports. They point to the additions of rugby, flag football, Double Dutch, wrestling and competitive cheerleading to PSAL offerings since 2009.

   "The stark statistics represent lost opportunities that would have enriched girls' high school experience and boosted their academic performance and overall health," said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center, which initiated the Office of Civil Rights filing in 2010.

   More on the ruling: The emphasis in the aforementioned Title IX case is on the quantity of sports opportunities being offered. Here's hoping that the quality of those opportunities gets factored into the process to create new programs and expand existing ones.

   Tuesday's 117-8 blowout in the first round of the PSAL Class AA tournament was the latest evidence that the girls side of the sport with which New York City is most closely identified has very real problems.

   Foremost among the obvious issues is that it's unfathomable that there are only 14 PSAL Class AA schools spread across the five boroughs, half the number of boys teams playing at the highest level. And among the 14, the disparity is vast: Francis Lewis was seeded fourth and Brooklyn Collegiate 13th entering Tuesday's epic mismatch. Any of the top three teams could have inflicted a similar beating on Collegiate or No. 14 seed August Martin.

   One of the criticisms of NCAA women's Division I

  • 2015 NYSPHSAA boys basketball brackets
  • 2015 NYSPHSAA boys hockey brackets

  • basketball for the past two decades is that only perhaps 12 or 15 teams in the whole country have a realistic chance at making the national semifinals in any given season because too much talent remains concentrated in the elite programs. Still, the existence of more than 300 teams in the division assures that the weakest are weeded out before the tournament and that no 13th-seeded team will get ripped apart by 109 points.

       The PSAL needs to raise its game by pumping new lift into its bad 'AA' teams and elevating its better Class A teams to the top level. There's no reason they can't have a 25-school elite division three years from now and advance just the top six or eight to the postseason.

       Swimming: If the meet goes to form, the state swim championships Friday and Saturday at Ithaca College could be a big weekend for Michael Verini and his Fordham Prep teammates.

       Verini, a senior, is seeded first in the 100-yard freestyle, and Fordham Prep enters the meet with the season's fastest times in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. With a time of :46.09, Verini is on one-hundredth of a second from All-America consideration.

       Updates needed: Dave Powers at Tuxedo High is once again assisting the Basketball Coaches Association of New York by updating the list of girls hoops coaches who've reached 300 or more career victories. If you have information to share along those lines, please email Dave at when you get a moment.

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