WNY Athletics

Top-Seed Maryvale Boys Soccer Escapes Quarterfinal Scare From Amherst

Heading into the postseason, the Maryvale High School boys soccer team put in some practice time working on penalty kicks. Little did the top-seeded Flyers know how soon they’d need that experience.

Eighth-seeded Amherst gave Maryvale all it could handle and Wednesday’s Class A2 Section VI quarterfinal went to penalty kicks. The Flyers officially get a 1-0 victory after outscoring the Tigers 5-4 in the PKs.

“I was just praying, I just wanted to win it,” sophomore goalkeeper Van Leng said. “Before the game, coaches said to go left every time. Only one player kicked to their right, which was good.”

Alex Jauch, Seth Schlosser, Noah Schreiber, Alex Raczynski and Van Hmung all scored in the penalty kicks for Maryvale and after the final Amherst penalty kick sailed over Lang and the crossbar, the Flyers raced out of the dugout to celebrate after the win.

Not normally something you see when a 1-seed beats a No. 8 but the Flyers had to work for this one and Tom Staebell wasn’t exactly about to guarantee a win heading into the shootout.

“I was hopeful anyway,” he said with a relieved laugh. “You’ll take it any way you can get it.”

The Flyers controlled play for most of the chilly afternoon but in regulation and two 15-minute overtimes – launching 19 shots –  could not beat Amherst goalkeeper Adam Willig. The senior was perhaps at his best in the second overtime, making a pair of diving stops.

“I thought we played well,” Staebell said. “We dominated play. Their goalie made some really amazing saves and we hit a few posts and a crossbar.”

Amherst’s season ends at 4-14.

Maryvale will play in the sectional semifinals at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at Niagara Falls High School against No. 4-seed Williamsville South. The Billies advanced with a 2-0 win over fifth-seed International Prep in their home quarterfinal on Wednesday.

“They’re a good team,” Staebell said. “It’s going to be a battle but we’ll see what happens.

With the win, Maryvale improved to 14-2 on the season. The two losses came to undefeated powerhouse East Aurora. The Flyers won’t have to worry about the juggernaut Blue Devils, who are in Class B1 for the postseason. The road ahead will not be easy, Maryvale is confident in what it can do on the soccer field.

“This team is awesome,” Leng said. “At school, you don’t get that boring attitude, you get that amazing attitude.”

Andrew Johnson, Joey Pace, Solomon Konesky and Ian Leising scored in the penalty kicks for the Tigers.

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