We're live at Amherst High's Dimp Wagner Field for the Section VI Class AA soccer championship doubleheader. Clarence is involved in both games, first taking on Williamsville North in a 5 p.m. start, followed by the Red Devil boys against Lockport at 7 p.m.
6:03 p.m. We're finally online from a very tiny press box but I'm not sure how often I'll be able to provide updates. We had to copy over the Williamsville North roster by hand because there are no programs at the Section VI soccer championships. Insert your own head-shaking expression of exasperation here.
We're about 15 minutes into the second half and the Clarence girls lead, 1-0. Clarence got their goal with 6:32 left in what was an evenly-played first half. Junior Alexandra Rohloff scored off a pretty play off of a free kick. The kick came from about 30 yards out, was tipped on by a player around the 18-yard line to an open Rohloff, who rolled the ball into the left side of the net. I'll be getting the names of the other players involved in the play after the game -- it's tough to see those numbers from afar.
6:18 p.m. We've got less than 15 minutes remaining. Clarence just had a nice chance off of a free kick, but sophomore Laura Scalzi's header was tracked down by North senior goalie Courtney Ball.
6:22 p.m. We have a 1-1 tie with 13:13 left, thanks to some great hustle by North junior forward Kristi Putzig. Putzig chased a ball send ahead down the left side, beat out two defenders to get a foot on it just as Clarence goalie came to the edge of the box to try and get in front of it. Putzig's tip sent it past the goalie and enabled freshman forward Alexis Kroes to chase it down and touch it into an open net.
6:36 p.m. We're going to overtime. There will be two 10-minute sessions no matter if there's any scoring. If the game remains tied, there will be two five-minute sudden-death sessions. No real close calls in the last moments of regulation -- the most drama we had was a Clarence cross that was reeled in by Ball.
6:41 p.m. Overtime has started. There haven't been too many dramatic moments in the game -- perhaps because the teams know each other so well from their ECIC I battles. The marking has been quite good, with defenders disrupting any offensive chances -- they've gotten in the way of some often-fancy footwork by offensive players, stepped up to cut off passes or by made nice tackles.
6:46 p.m. We've had some good chances to start OT. North freshman Alexis Koral unleashed a nice, long shot from the left side that was reeled in by Clarence senior goalie Lisa Johnson, whose momentum took her bumping up against the near post after the catch with 7:10 left. North goalie Ball came across to track down a cross in front of the on-rushing Nicole Lauricella, who has been in the middle of some of the Red Devils' best opportunities.
6:52 p.m. That's the end of the first 10-minute overtime session. We'll have a two-minute break. The play has gotten a bit more physical -- some good, tough soccer. Putzig was quite active toward the end of the session, sending some long balls across and into the box. One of them was similar to the play on which North scored, with Kroes running onto the ball, but Clarence's Johnson came up and kicked it away.
7 p.m. At the time the boys game was schedule to start, we've got about 4:30 left in the second overtime session. Johnson just made a very nice playwith about 5:15 left, stepping up to get to a bouncing ball at the right side of the goal -- just before Lauricella, bearing in on her, was able to get a foot on it.
7:04 p.m. Off of a throw-in with about 1:20 left, Clarence junior Alexa Krebs has a shot from the top of the box but it's lofted over the crossbar.
7:05 p.m. That's the end of the second 10-minute overtime. On to sudden death -- two five-minute periods, if necessary. Best chants of the night have come from the Clarence side. Many members of the North boys team have shown up to support their team, definitely a quality move; but one of their outbursts was answered with a "Fi-ve, O-ne!" chant from some Clarence fans. Clarence beat North, 5-1, in the sectional semifinals. Also, some of the North guys have painted their chests, another quality move that should definitely be commended. But that only led to some Clarence female fans to chant, "Put your shirts on!"
7:08 p.m. We're underway with sudden-death -- the first of potentially two five-minute sudden-death overtimes.
7:10 p.m. About halfway through the first session, Clarence's Krebs had a shot from the far left wing saved by Ball.
7:13 p.m. End of the first sudden-death overtime.
7:15 p.m. We've started the second sudden-death overtime. A pretty great crowd on hand as the fans for the boys game have arrived. Probably 600-750 people here.
7:18 p.m. North started the session by forcing two corner kicks, but both were cleared away fairly easily.
7:20 p.m. That's it. Pretty great, competitive game. And now it will be decided by a penalty kicks.
7:28 p.m. We have a FINAL: Clarence wins the shootout, 5-3. Clarence and Williamsville North are declared co-champions, with Clarence advancing to the state playoffs. Time to go get quotes.
7:57 p.m. After a postgame ceremony and coaches' talks, we're back in the press box, standing now in the back of the shed of a press box with our laptop on a desk. We've got Lockport local cable. Hey, I've got power and a place to type, so I'm good.
It's one down, one to go for Clarence. The Red Devil soccer program is trying to join East Aurora, Holland and Maple Grove by sweeping their classification's boys and girls soccer titles. Pretty amazing feat
7:58 p.m. The boys final has kicked off.
8:06 p.m. The Clarence boys have taken a 1-0 lead with 31:21 left in the first half. After two close calls off of a free kick by the Red Devils, Alex Stephan gathered a clear near the 18-yard line on the right side, took a couple of quick steps in and let loose a missle of a left-footed shot to the near top corner that was knuckling as it soared over diving Lockport goalie Christopher Paradise.
8:07 p.m. Clarence comes right back into the Lockport end off of the kickoff and David D'Amico fires a low shot wide to the right.
8:15 p.m. Clarence now has a 2-0 lead with 23:14 left in the first half. Ben Scalzi neatly collected a ball at the middle of the 18, turned and blasted a right-footer to an unstoppable spot: it seared along the turf and caromed in off the left goal post. An awesome play.
8:21 p.m. Clarence hasn't had to show much on defense, but goalie Nate Konitzer just made two standout saves, one off a hard, low James May shot off a free kick, then he went up in the air big-time to snatch a ball away from trouble.
8:28 p.m. Scalzi was just sent speeding up the left side and got his tough-angled shot on net, but Paradise made the save with 11:30 left in the first half.
8:31 p.m. Paradise makes a save of a header off a corner kick -- the second of two straight Clarence corners.
8:33 p.m. With a little over seven minutes left in the half, Lockport junior scorer Matt McCoy goes after a loose ball in the box and goes hard into Konitzer, drawing a free kick for Clarence.
8:38 p.m. Paradise just made a nice stop of a nice play by Clarence with about two minutes to play before the half. Scalzi sent Tyler Hamill sprinting up the right side, but Paradise stepped out to cut down the angle and blocked the ball away.
8:40 p.m. It's halftime and Clarence leads the AA boys final, 2-0. This is the first time I've seen Clarence and they are living up to the hype -- they are fast, skilled and tough. Being on turf seems to be a major asset for the Red Devils, whose rushes upfield are like basketball fast breaks. I've got get my story together so the updates may be a bit slower the rest of the evening.
8:51 p.m. The second half is underway.
8:52 p.m. And here comes Clarence again. Hamill just split two defenders and got off a left-footed poke of a shot that went wide.
8:54 p.m. Kontizer comes off his line and goes airborne to grab a Lockport cross off a free kick with about 37 minutes left to play.
8:57 p.m. With 34 minutes to play, Paradise neatly stops a shot from the right side that was set up on a nifty free kick by Clarence in which a player ran over the ball and then received it on a run up the right wing.
9:01 p.m. With 29:55 left, Clarence nearly scored again by Hamill's shot in close sailed over the crossbar. The Red Devils seem on the verge of another goal.
9:03 p.m. Hamill just tried again with about 29 minutes to play, hovering and pestering a defender as he chased a ball into the Lockport end. Hamill somehow managed a foot on the ball but it rolled a few feet wide right. After the play, Hamill went down to the turf and Lockport's Jon Greig -- the defender who was trying to shield him off -- offered Hamill a hand to pick him up from the turf. Excellent sportsmanship in what has been a bruising, physical, entertaining game.
9:10 p.m. Clarence now has a 3-0 lead with 20:57 left to play. This was one of those fast breaks I was talking about. Derek Maier, a sophomore who came off the bench, went sprinting to midfield onto a ball down the left wing. He spotted Hamill doing his own dash on the other side of midfield and sent a pretty ball across and ahead for Hamill to burst after. Paradise came off his line, but Hamill got to the ball first -- near the 18 -- and put a perfect touch on a perfect pass and the ball went rolling to the open net.
9:31 p.m. This is your two-minute warning. The Clarence fans jammed into the bleachers are singing the goodbye song -- for the second time tonight.
9:32 p.m. Paradise made a great diving stop to his right on a hard, low shot by Hamill.
9:33 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Clarence 3, Lockport 0. The Red Devils sweep Class AA.