The Riverside Frontiers used an explosive first half to take home their first Section VI Class B2 title in five years on Wednesday night by defeating the Olmsted Owls 7-3.
Five quick goals early in the half sealed the deal for the Frontiers, as they established their dominance and didn’t look back.
“Some may have said that we had a better team last year, but I think we have had a more complete team this season,” coach Geoff Hurley said. “We play in the toughest league in Buffalo. This league has three out of four teams in the sectional finals for B… I just think the competitiveness of our schedule this year made it so we could show off our skills today.”
Before the game was even 20 minutes old, the Frontiers had already made their presence known with goals by Pay Bu and Say Reh. Charite Izaaki made the score 3-0 a short while later and Bawi Lian Khan and Ali Atta completed the team’s sudden outburst.
Jonah Fogel attempted to keep the Owls in the game with a pair of tallies and Philip Marcello added a score of his own, but Reh’s second goal and Omran Dalil’s score ended Olmsted’s season.
“I’ve played high school soccer for four years and this is the first time I’ve made it to the final,” Reh said. “We were comfortable from the beginning. We knew we were going to take the championship… We want to keep winning and hopefully go to states.”
Riverside will face Lackawanna for the overall Class B championship next week, and Hurley believes that his team has what it takes to win it all.
“We’ve always believed that we could go far this year,” Hurley said. “We knew, going back to the start of this season, what kind of talent we have. It feels great to see it come through so far, but when you start winning, it’s a contagious feeling.
“Lackawanna’s a physical team and they have a lot of guys who can beat you, so they’ll be dangerous. But we’re happy to be here and we don’t want this feeling to end.”
The Lackawanna Steelers became Section VI Class B1 champions on Wednesday night by downing the International Prep/Grover Presidents 4-3.
It was a tense game as it wasn’t decided until the waning minutes of the second half. However, the Steelers, winners of 12 straight since an early-season loss to Riverside, held on thanks to their toughness and relentlessness, according to coach Abdulsalam Nomad.
“This is a great win for the Lackawanna program,” Nomad said. “It’s the first time we’ve beaten (International Prep) after losing to them twice earlier. I’m very proud of our players and coaches for the hard work they’ve put into this season and to get ready for the playoffs.”
It was also a revenge game of sorts, as the two teams met in the past two overall Class B title games with the Presidents coming out on top and eventually winning the Section VI championship for the third and fourth years in a row.
“Losing last year to I-Prep 8-2 left a bad taste in our mouths,” assistant coach Waheb Nomad said. “We wanted a chance to avenge that, and we got the job done.”
The Steelers took an early 1-0 lead when Ilyas Galab scored 4:33 into the first half, and Galab lit the lamp again with a little more than 30 minutes remaining in the first half. Galab was assisted by Jabreel Almontaser on both goals.
Rashadi Afif added another score on an own goal soon after to give his team a 3-0 lead at the half. However, the Presidents wouldn’t go quietly. A goal by Solomon Thang got his team on the board with less than 30 minutes to go and Daniel Parker scored a goal of his own four minutes later.
Shortly thereafter, the biggest play of the night occurred when Steelers goalkeeper Ibrahim Albakri recorded a spectacular save on an I-Prep breakaway to deny the Presidents a shot at tying the contest at three apiece.
“I didn’t want to let my teammates down so I had to make the save for my team,” Albakri said. “I knew I was going to get it.”
Senior captain Abdulhamid Albaneh then came off the bench and notched his team’s fourth goal of the game on a corner kick to go up by two, but Ha Tin kept his team’s season alive by pulling the Presidents within one with 2:50 to play. It was all the Presidents had left though, as the Steelers held on for the victory.
Lackawanna will square off with Riverside for the overall Class B title next week.
“Riverside’s just like us – aggressive but small, and they play with a lot of heart,” Albaneh said. “It’s going to take a full 80 minutes to beat them. They beat us 1-0 earlier this year, but we’ll be coming back strong and hopefully we’ll be champions after we beat them.”