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Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015: Queensbury's La Plant reaches 200 goals

   Leading off today: Queensbury senior Brittany La Plant scored her 200th career girls soccer goal Wednesday during a 5-1 win vs. Johnstown.

   She registered her 200th goal near the end of the first half, then notched No. 201 in the second half to raise her season total to 19 goals.

   Buffalo City Honors senior Molly Petrucci became the NYSPHSAA's all-time leader in goals last month when she scored her 209th goal.

   More soccer: Cooperstown rallied from a two goal halftime deficit to earn a 3-2 win in overtime over Poland, the state's top ranked girls Class D team. Delaney Holohan scored twice off assists from Liz Millea in regulation, then Millea connected in OT.

   Millea scored the winner midway through the second OT when her corner kick deflected off a defender.

   "Once we got our first goal, our confidence really started to build," Cooperstown coach Jennifer Pindar said told The Daily Star.

   In another girls game, Kim Dieroff set Homer's school record for career goals when she recorded No. 70 in a 6-0 win over Central Square.

   Mount Academy, ranked ninth in Class D, scored a surprisingly easy 6-0 win over the Burke Catholic boys to stay undefeated. Sean Kurtz had three goals and two assists for the Eagles, and Luke Button made four saves for the shutout.

   Appeal heard: The Section 1 Athletic Council is expected to decide by early next week whether to uphold its eligibility committee's decision banning two boys from playing for the Rye varsity field hockey team.

   The Journal News reported the council heard arguments from the school district Wednesday on behalf of players Phile Govaert and Sean Walsh.

   State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia rejected the district's request Tuesday for a stay of the Section 1 order until she rules on an appeal the district filed with her. Since Elia's decision could take months, Govaert and Walsh will not play for Rye this season if the Athletic Council does not overrule the eligibility committee.

   Attorney Emily J. Lucas, who represented the school district Wednesday, said she made a prong argument: The eligibility ruling was inconsistent with the intent behind mixed competition guidelines and there is no evidence that the boys' participation would adversely impact female players.

   Walsh scored just three goals last year as a junior on the varsity. Govaert was on the junior varsity, where he scored nine goals.

   Another eligibility issue: The Buffalo News reported over the weekend on a different eligibility controversy, one that's typically been open and shut over the years. Oscar Donahue, a Columbian immigrant, has been unable to play his senior soccer season at Starpoint because he turned 19 late this spring.

   Donahue was adopted by a local couple in 2010 after a difficult early life, including coming to the United States with limited knowledge of English. His family argues that the eligibility ruling penalizes him for the family's decision to put him in seventh grade rather than eighth at the age of 14 to make for an easier adjustment.

   As in the field hockey case above, there is an appeal weaving its way through the State Education Department with at best minimal hope of a timely decision.

   But the age rule exists in no small part to protect 13- and 14-year-olds from having to line up against bigger and more physically mature opponents, especially in contact sports. At 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, Donahue may not be hulking football site

but he is likely big enough to create more physical risk to boys than the Rye field hockey players are to girls.

   In short, he had two seasons on the junior varsity and two more with the varsity. Yes, it would be nice if he could cap his career with a senior season. But the rule exists for a reason -- a very good one.

   Another forfeit: Candor has opted to forfeit its Friday football game to Elmira Notre Dame because it does not have enough eligible players. The game was to have been part of Notre Dame's homecoming celebration, which will now take place Oct. 9 vs. Groton.

   Candor was unable to complete last week's 34-0 loss to Oxford because of injuries that led the game to be called in the fourth quarter, The Star-Gazette reported. Candor, which began the season with 27 players before injuries and other departures, only had 15 players available this week.

   More reading: I'd been holding on to a pair of stories from The Journal News for a few days in the hope of summarizing them is greater detail and chiming in with my own observations. However, based on the number of stories piling up in my queue and what my work schedule looks like for the next week, it's probably best to just point you to the stories and let you evaluate on your own.

   First, there was Josh Thomson's latest look at the offseason tweaks to the Section 1 power-based football system, much might (will?) cause some hard feelings when playoff brackets are filled in. According to the story, Tappan Zee could go 6-0 in Class A and be seeded no better than 13th in a 16-team bracket because the system assures automatic bids to the majority of schools in the class.

   The paper also dove into the issue of specialization in a sport vs. versatility, building the story around senior Nicolina Chenard of Ardsley. Up for debate is whether her decision to play basketball in the winter and softball in the spring has cost her the opportunity to play volleyball -- her sport of choice -- in college.

   In short, the question becomes whether college coaches all but ignore players who do not specialize by immersing themselves in the club sports scene.

   Extra points: The weekly boys cross country ratings were delayed by a day but will be posted by early this evening.

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