What better way to celebrate your school’s 50th anniversary than by winning a state title in your own backyard.
Williamsville North High School will play host to the NYSPHSAA Field Hockey Championships this fall which also coincides with the school’s celebration of its golden anniversary.
So the goal of the Lady Spartans is pretty obvious: complete the Hollywood style ending by winning it all on their turf.
The postseason has been a challenging go for Will-North in recent years as heartbreaking losses have stopped their championship quest over the last three seasons.
Falling in the Far West Regionals the past two years, last year’s loss was especially hard to digest as the Spartans saw a 3-2 lead slip away, only to lose in overtime.
But for the returning girls, and coaches, those losses have only strengthened their resolves to see their mission through this fall.
“The post season losses have fueled our desire to work harder and go farther,” coach Jessie Rys said.
“Our goal this year is to win the state championship. States are coming to North for the first time. It’s also the schools 50th year anniversary. We are very excited to see how our season plays out!”
The Spartans definitely have the talent to make those championship dreams come true as they return a strong core of players.
Playing from the goaltender out is a good plan for Will-North as they return arguably the best goalie in WNY, Sam Mallare, who posted 13 shutouts and a minuscule GAA of 0.45.
They also return twins, Erin and Emma Roland. Erin is the quintessential playmaker who QB’s the offense and Emma is one of the most deadly accurate shooters in Section VI.
Jordan Cooper, who also has a nose for the net, is looking to build off of her 11 goal season last year.
Senior Bre Shannon has great field vision and will anchor a solid defense. Dani Batz is a strong presence all over the field, while Lauren Rabinowitz and Jenna Piotrowski are also key returnees.
Rys says she also has the plus of a strong supporting cast of girls-Kylie Rosen, Gabby Manzella, Sarah Quinlan, Ryleigh Bies, Sydney Moyer, Kerry Gramlich, Paige Timby and Courtney Bangert. Girls who may not get the spotlight, but still play a huge role, and prove to Rys’ point that everyone has value and does her part for team success.
“We value grit, second effort, and hard work,” Rys said. “We encourage good sportsmanship, combined with an appreciation for the game. We have a lot of areas for growth and are looking to grow into a dynamic team who plays quickly and finishes plays.”
New faces include eight grader Molly Martin and sophomore Hanna Shannon.
Martin’s ice hockey skill set has translated over to the field as she also brings the presence of another offensive weapon. While Hanna, Bre’s younger sister, is a solid all-around player.
Caitlin Wells, Meg Stypa, Sarah Matesic, Taylor Wendel and Natalie Matys are also on the opening day roster.
Rys also wanted to extend her thank yous to the entire Will-North Field Hockey family. Not only her staff, volunteer assistant coach Serena Adams, JV coach Holly Flanegan and modified coach Jess Wess. But also the North administration, fans and families of the players for their undying support.
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