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Fall sports head to state final fours

If you haven't seen them already, check out Pete Simon's front-page story on Grover Cleveland boys soccer and Mary Jo Monnin's wrapup of all of the non-football teams searching for state titles this weekend.

So who comes home with a plaque?

As always, let us know how and why you voted in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

Getting our schedule straight (and some sites that got us there)

With the exception of the times of the Frewsburg girls soccer team's contests in the Class C final four, everything concerning this week's playoff schedule has been posted.

Check it out. It's the lineup for this week's three boys soccer teams, three girls volleyball teams, two field hockey teams along with the Frewsburg girls, as well as the football schedule for the next two weeks.

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First, check a separate boys soccer post that resulted from our whirlwind tour of the Web.

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Here are some other places ur google-ing took us as we got our facts and figures straight:

* The New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships page has brackets and times straight from the mothership.

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The lone girls soccer representative from Western New York is Frewsburg, which takes on the state's top-ranked team in Saquiot Valley -- which advanced by beating the state's No. 2 team

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Check out a great site set up by organizers of the girls volleyball final four -- dubbed the "Rush at the Falls."

---Keith McShea

Soccer talk, from Oneonta to Strong Island to pay Web sites to private schools and back again

Give me some time to get a schedule straight and do some research -- and no live blogging to do -- and this is what happens:

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All three Section VI boys soccer teams which have advanced to the state final four are meeting teams from Long Island.

Clarence is taking on Brentwood of Long Island in a rematch of last year's memorable Class AA state championship game, won by Brentwood, 2-1.

(Here's last year's live blog and an exhaustive account from the Clarence and EA games on what was one of the coldest days I've ever spent covering high school sports. Also, check the comments after the "More from ..." post -- pretty entertaining stuff from one of our nominations for Crazy High School Sports Parent of 2008.).

Brentwood ended last year, and began this season, as the top-ranked team in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll (check out their poll page, which will be updated Tuesday).

Here's a Newsday blog entry about how Strong Island ... I mean Long Island ... soccer people were wondering "What's going on with Brentwood?" this season. 

Continue reading "Soccer talk, from Oneonta to Strong Island to pay Web sites to private schools and back again" »

Soccer updates: Clarence boys win in OT, Will East girls fall in OT

Correspondent Dan McCarthy reports that the Williamsville East girls fell in the Class A Far West Regionals when Greece Arcadia scored with six seconds left in the second overtime.

The boys Class AA game went to Clarence when Scott Berardi scored with 1:36 left in overtime -- that comes courtesy of the reports from AA Brkt Mstr in the comments section of our soccer playoff post. Greatly appreciate those updates. Clarence returns to the state final four in Oneonta, where it fell in last year's championship game.

---Keith McShea

A winning weekend: One Friday down, one Saturday to go

Football, cross country, soccer, volleyball, field hockey. A total of 17 team championships.

The first weekend of November is traditionally one of the busiest of the high school sports year, and Friday was packed with action.

Check out seven stories and our scoreboard at the high school home page (and of course, go buy the paper itself :-) ).

There's more to come today -- more football, more soccer, more field hockey, more volleyball. Eleven Section VI titles are on the line in three sports while the boys volleyball final fours are being held at Orchard Park. Berths in the Monsignor Martin football championships are up for grabs, as is the final spot in the Harvard Cup playoffs.

Stay tuned to Prep Talk Live for the football action from The Ralph. Our accounts of Friday's games are below.

We'll provide scoring updates (from all sports) from throughout Western New York when we get them, and you can feel free to chime in as well.

As always, if you are at a game, let us know what you thought of the action, no matter what the sport. There are links to discuss every fall sport at the high school home page.

---Keith McShea

Extra extra: Read all about city boys soccer and a great Thursday night

Check out the bonus edition of Friday's High School Extra, which includes some great information collected by News Sports Reporter Miguel Rodriguez on Friday night's Class B boys soccer title game between Buffalo Public Schools City Honors and Grover Cleveland

There is also a ton on Thursday night's playoff action from soccer to volleyball to field hockey from across Western New York.

Speaking of a ton of action:

* Jay Skurski has the story on North Tonawanda and Hamburg winning girls volleyball titles.

* Correspondent Lauren Mariacher covers the Section VI girls gymnastics meet won by Frontier's Nicole Radon.

---Keith McShea

Who's going to win in Section VI boys soccer?

The brackets are out, so let's get kicking.

Time to make your voice heard on which teams you think will win Section VI championships in boys soccer. If your team is in the bracket, your team is on the ballot. 

Continue reading "Who's going to win in Section VI boys soccer?" »

Who's going to win in Section VI girls soccer?

Is another Grand Island-Williamsville East showdown inevitable in Class A? Will it be the Niagara Frontier League or ECIC I in Class AA? Will East Aurora repeat in Class B?

Time to scan the brackets and make your voice heard on which teams you think will win Section VI championships in girls soccer.

We're equal opportunity pollsters: If your team is in the bracket, your team is on the ballot. 

Continue reading "Who's going to win in Section VI girls soccer?" »

More sights and sounds from Cheektowaga boys soccer

Last week I headed out to do research on the fine boys soccer seasons going on in Cheektowaga -- both for Maryvale and the Warriors of "Central" (that's Cheektowaga Central to those who only visit the Galleria or the airport and aren't down with the lingo).

Maryvale is hoping to fill up the blank banner that hangs in the gym, so they keep a reminder of it in their locker room. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) Cheektowaga was undefeated -- up until Monday night, hours before my story had to be finalized for Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight. Call it the Spotlight jinx -- I did a story on Iroquois golf being undefeated a few weeks ago, and the Chiefs lost on the Monday before the story came out.

It's always great to get out and see teams in their own environment. Even just a few moments spent with Cheektowaga before their game and watching them play the first half against Springville last Thursday gave me a good look at a team that has come a long way.

I saw their photo of their empty banner in the locker room and snapped a shot of it. Despite Cheektowaga's 3-1 loss to Maryvale Monday night, the Warriors can still wrap up the school's first soccer championship of any kind on Wednesday at home against winless Pioneer.

After seeing Cheektowaga take a 2-0 first-half lead in what would be a 3-1 win over Springville, I headed up Union Road to Maryvale, were I saw them finish off a 3-0 victory over Depew. Included was an extremely pretty goal which began with a one-touch from a midfielder to the left wing to Dan Fox, who one-touched it back across the middle, where Jared Starzynski one-touched it into the net. Great stuff.

Cheektowaga's first loss of the season didn't exactly mess up my story -- since it was a loss to Maryvale it actually worked right into the storyline of how both teams from the town are having great seasons.

Both programs' coaches -- Cheektowaga's Matt Haberl and Maryvale's Tom Staebell -- lauded the Cheektowaga Soccer Club for aiding in player development in the town. Check out the Cheektowaga Soccer Club site here.

Here are a couple of plays from Cheektowaga's game against Springville -- one goal (where the ball girl had her head in the game) and one save.

---Keith McShea

St. Francis soccer kicking against cancer

Monday's boys soccer matchup of St. Joe's at St. Francis should be a great one on the field -- and it should be a great night no matter how the game ends up.

The 7 p.m. game is part of St. Francis' dedication of their season to Kicks Against Breast Cancer.

St. Francis assistant coach Jason Cretacci passed along a note explaining that "Kicks Against Breast Cancer is American soccer’s initiative to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer and to help women living with cancer to survive and thrive." U.S. National Team and Los Angeles Galaxy star Landon Donovan is serving as the first spokesman for the initiative.

Throughout the year the St. Francis will be wearing a pink patch on their left shoulder to show their support, while during Monday's game the teams will use a special pink Kicks Against Cancer soccer ball.

Check out some more info here.

---Keith McShea

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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN |