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Friday, Oct. 21, 2016: Fire destroys Sec. 2 team's equipment day before game

   Leading off today: The Holy Trinity football team lost all of its equipment in an apparent early-morning arson fire at the team's field house at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons school a day before its Section 2 playoffs debut.

   Police Sgt. Matt Dearing said the building was engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived at 2:15 a.m. Dearing said investigators believe the fire was deliberately set, The Times Union reported.

   Coach John Barber said flames destroyed all of the equipment but the team would be ready for Saturday's Class C playoffs against Hoosic Valley.

   "Oh, we're playing," he vowed.

   The Holy Trinity football team consists of players from Bishop Gibbons and Catholic Central in Troy.

   Offers of aid poured in almost immediately. The University at Albany football team was among the programs promising to donate equipment. Barber said coaches will sort through the items Friday to make sure the helmets and shoulder pads properly fit the players. Jerseys and pants are less of a concern, he said.

   "We may look like a bunch of hooligans but we'll be padded up and ready to go," the coach said.

   Going the extra mile: It was a long Thursday evening on the soccer fields for East Syracuse Minoa's soccer teams in the Section 3 playoffs.

   The ESM girls, seeded first in Class A, defeated Syracuse CBA 2-1 in a second sudden-death overtime when Franchesca Polcaro converted a cornerkick from Lauren Ott.

   The top-seeded ESM boys reached the Class A semifinals with 3-1 penalty-kick decision over Oswego, which forged a tie on a goal by Derek Caramella with 15 minutes left in regulation.

   After a scoreless overtime, the Spartans won when Conor Stack, Kyle Scalzo and David Neff all converted their penalty kicks.

   More girls soccer: A first-half goal by Ericka Arancio powered Clinton to a 1-0 upset of Marcellus, ranked eighth in the state, in the Section 3 Class B quarterfinals. Kaitlyn Williams made seven saves for the shutout.

    • Jamie Lynn Mendelson scored the goal for Sackets Harbor in a 1-0 win in the Section 10 Class D quarterfinals that eliminated defending state champion Copenhagen from the postseason.

   Hard-fought victory: It's a fact that most sectional and state qualifier singles finals in tennis are rather pro forma events. Top players face off against each other so often football site

during the high school season and in non-scholastic competition that the better player -- no matter how slight the difference -- exploits their edge and hammers out a decisive victory.

   And then you get the occasional exception like what took place in the Section 3 state qualifier Thursday. It was a match that really could have gone either way.

   Auburn senior Julia Wagner outlasted New Hartford's Sarah Corasanti 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-4 in a grueling, three-hour contest at the Drumlins Tennis Club.

   "Naturally I like to strike the ball, but with Sarah, she just gets everything back," Wagner told The Citizen. "A lot of it was trying to stay calm, stay back and not try to overpower her. I had to keep the ball in play and eventually get the shot you're looking for to take the point."

   Wagner went to the state tournament in doubles last season after being the Section 3 runner-up in singles the two previous seasons.

   Coaching milestone: Newark finished an undefeated Wayne-Finger Lakes regular season in boys cross country by picking up seven head-to-head victories Tuesday. The results raised Reds coach Joe Contario's record to 405-50 in 22 seasons.

   Contario's girls teams own an additional 353 victories.

   Football: Week 8 of the season (i.e., the sectional quarterfinals for most of the state) is light on confrontations between ranked teams.

   I wouldn't expect many first and second seeds to be in real danger of losing this weekend, but the persistent rain of the past two days, likely to continue into Saturday in some precincts, is the sort of equalizer that could allow No. 5 and 6 seeds to pull out some victories.

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