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Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016: Coaches criticize compact Section 1 soccer schedule

   Leading off today: How many games in a week constitutes too many games in a week? I'm not sure, but four soccer games in five days probably qualifies as abusive, and it's one of the reasons local soccer coaches voiced their displeasure to The Journal News this week.

   By starting practice a week later than usual and ending the regular season a week sooner than used to be the case not long ago, Section 1 has forced teams to squeeze their full schedules into a short window of roughly Sept. 2 to Oct. 17.

   "It's not healthy at all," said North Rockland girls soccer coach Pete McGovern. "We used to go up to the 24th or 25th of October. Now we're playing until the 17th and there's no regard for player safety. There's only so much that the body can take."

   I still haven't warmed to the concept of the U.S. Soccer Federation's Academy system, which siphons many top prospects from the high school system. Backers of the system pointed out from the start that the emphasis would be on training, with the schedule of games limited to one or two contests per week.

   "The biggest challenge, from an athletic training point of view, is managing the injuries that do occur," Yorktown athletic trainer Dave Byrnes said. "In other sports, you have more off days or practice days where you can limit activity,¬†give time off to allow for some healing or give more time to rehab the injuries. We can't realistically limit effort in a game, and when you're going back-to-back or three, four games in a week, it will result in an athlete missing games."

   Game abandoned: The girls soccer game between Edwards-Knox and Hammond ended abruptly Wednesday with Edwards-Knox ahead 3-1 as officials halted play with 29 minutes left after Red Devils coach Shawn Dack was ejected.

   Hammond had no assistant coaches available, forcing officials to end the contest and give the Cougars the win.

   "I was carded for standing up for my players due to the interpretation of the official," Dack said. "I was wrong in how I handled it and I'm the only one to blame."

   Big Mac attack: Lakeland boys soccer coach Tim Hourahan motivated his players before overtime vs. Somers, ranked third in the state in Class A, by promising a Big Mac to whoever scored the winning goal.

   "That was the only thing that motivated me at that point," junior forward Arben Hoxhaj said. "I had to go for it. I needed that Big Mac, so I'll have to hold him to his word."

   Hoxhaj scored a minute into the second overtime for a 2-1 victory.

   It marked the first loss of the season for the Tuskers, who had allowed just two goals during their 11-0 start.

   Field hockey: Leah Czerwinski, who spent last season as a manager for the Williamsville South field hockey team because of a knee injury, scored both goals in a victory over Amherst. Williamsville South remained unbeaten at 10-0-1.

    • When Hoosick Falls beat Greenwich 3-1 on Monday in a battle of unbeaten teams, it was career win No. 300 in 19 seasons for coach Denise Campbell. Her teams have won 11 Section 2 titles and played in NYSPHSAA championship games three times. football site

   Hot hand: Over the last two games, Fayetteville-Manlius running back Eric Coley has scored 12 touchdowns and rushed for 743 yards. Coley broke loose for 405 yards and five touchdowns last weekend in a 59-39 victory vs. Syracuse Henninger.

   F-M is back in action this weekend against Syracuse CBA, ranked 10th in the state in Class AA.

   Unusual forfeit: A boys soccer team in Arizona forfeited its game last week against a team that includes two girls. Mesa (Ariz.) Faith Christian School forfeited to Scottsdale's Foothills Academy College Prep, whose roster includes sisters Alyssa and Colette Hocking, the Arizona Republic reported.

   "I know it appears to fly in the face of what everyone is wanting to promote today, and that is equality," Dick Buckingham, administrative leader of Faith Christian, told the newspaper. "It is based on a religious perspective that God created guys and girls differently. The difference physically, there is a strength advantage that men have over women. We want to teach our men that honor of ladies is just not in sports. We struggle how to teach that if we're allowing them to play against young ladies in a competitive game."

   Earlier in the week, Foothills was faced with a similar situation when Our Lady of Sorrows said it would not play against a co-ed opponent. Foothills, which traveled an hour to the game, chose to play without the sisters.

   For the Faith Christian game, Foothills players voted it would not play unless the Hockings were allowed to play, the paper reported.

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