THE BEAUTIFUL GAME — A DREAM SEASON Those in the know describe soccer as “the beautiful game” and during the 1992 soccer season a group of beautiful young ladies played the beautiful game beautifully for a whole season. To be competitive in Section VI was always a goal, but to advance beyond that, to the NYS playoffs, was a dream. No Section VI, Class A, girls soccer team had ever taken the giant step to “The States.” This ’92 team was made up of six seniors and a bevy of underclassmen. From day one, co-captains, Heather Williams and Jolie Mandell, took the reins of leadership. The other seniors, Molly Sheehan, Chrissy Metzger, Jennifer Funke and Robin Barris bought into the process. The rest of the team also “bought in”. They had no choice, as the positive attitude passed on by the upperclassmen became contagious. As the season progressed it was easy to observe a good team chemistry and team trust being built. Practices had purpose and it showed in games. If there was an individual hero in a game it was because of a team effort. Being the runner up in Division I did not deter the Bulldogs. While Williamsville North took the Division title, they lost to Lockport while the Bulldogs were besting Orchard Park. That set up the Section VI Finals between Hamburg and Lockport. In the finals, it was the “never give up” Bulldog attitude which prevailed. The Hamburg Bulldogs were now headed for uncharted territory. Hornell High School hosted the States and it was the first time the Bulldogs played on an artificial turf field. The Bulldogs were pitted against Webster, Section V Champs. More Bulldog heroics! Being outplayed throughout the game, Hamburg kept Webster off the scoreboard. Goalie, Jennifer Funke, made some outstanding saves during regulation. Overtimes proved fruitless by both teams and it came down to penalty kicks for a berth in the Semi Finals. Forward, Lyneve Lauria, stepped into goal for the Bulldogs PK session and made a key save, while freshman, Mary Watts, tied the contest with a well-placed shot. That set up the winner by another freshman, Kate Dziedzic. She calmly placed a neat shot passed the Webster Goalie and the Bulldogs were off to the Semi’s.
Shenendehowa was a totally different story. National polls had them ranked #10 in the country and the school was more than twice the size of Hamburg. A “David and Goliath” ending was not in the works and a “Dream Season” came to an end. Coach John Thomas had the highest praise for the play and conduct of his payers and felt that this team was not the most talented, but it was the blend of players and the way they played that created the success. The Hamburg ladies were awarded the state playoffs “Sportsmanship Trophy” for their positive attitude. Thomas stated, “I would invite every Hamburg athlete to have an attitude that our kids have. The more they overcame odds the more they believed they could overcome anything. They are a bunch of kids playing for each other. If someone faltered, someone else would step up and it would be someone different each time. Co-Captains Williams and Mandell came together and summarized the season this way. “The team worked on pride, determination and played for the love of the game. We worked together like a unit, a family. We were “All In.” We played through physical and emotional challenges and persevered through it all to be the best team we could be.” “Truly a “Dream Season.”
Front Row: Moira Sheehan, Laurie Giumento, Christine Metzger, Heather Williams (Co-Captain), Jolie Mandell (Co-Captain), Robyn Barris, Nicole Abramo, Maggie Schreier, Jennifer Funke. Second Row: Amy Tomaszewski, Melissa Reinagel, Kristen Kummer, Chun Yu Liu, Lyneve Lauria, Jennifer Stockmeyer, Jennifer Errington, Brooke Catarella Back Row: Tara Manteghi, Sandra Gullo, Laura Sheehan, Mary Watts, Kate Dziedzic, Coach John Thomas