Byron-Bergen girls soccer team competing for New York State Class C championship this weekend
Byron-Bergen Central School sports fans are abuzz these days thanks to the exploits of the Lady Bees girls soccer team that will compete in this weekend’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C tournament.
Coach Wayne Hill’s team has advanced to the state’s Final Four by virtue of its three most recent post-season victories:
- 4-1 over Harley-Allendale-Columbia for the Section V Class C2 championship;
- 3-2 over previously undefeated Warsaw in a Class C crossover match;
- 1-0 over Frewsburg of Section VI over the weekend in the Far West Regionals.
The Lady Bees, 19-3, will be riding that momentum into a 10 a.m. Saturday battle against Carle Place (Long Island) of Section VIII. The game will be played at Homer High School.
The winner will play for the state title at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at SUNY Cortland versus either AuSable Valley or Elmira Notre Dame.
“This is the farthest a Byron-Bergen team has ever gone,” Hill said, adding that the sectional crown is the school's first since 2013. “We never made it past regionals before. So, this in unchartered territory for us.”
Hill took over as varsity coach in 2015 after serving as an assistant in Batavia and has built a powerhouse squad led by eighth-grader Mia Gray, an elite talent who earned Genesee Region Player of the Year honors with league-leading 27 goals and 18 assists.
“She drives the team,” Hill said, speaking of Gray. “She’s a fantastic young player who is incredibly gifted with the ball. She never turns it over. She sees the field very, very well – and she’s an exceptional dribbler, passer, shooter and defender.”
Gray has plenty of support, Hill was quick to add, in sophomores Mackenzie Hagen (21 goals) and Emma Starowitz (14 goals and 11 assists), junior defensive standout Ava Wagoner and eighth grader Elizabeth Starowitz -- a jayvee call-up who scored her first varsity goal in the 3-2 win over Warsaw.
In the victory over Frewsburg, freshman Ava Gray (Mia’s sister) scored on a penalty kick late in the first half for the game’s lone goal. Ava Gray has six goals this season.
And there’s senior goalkeeper Brooke Jarkiewicz who has given up only 12 goals in 22 games while making 109 saves.
Statistically, the Lady Bees have dominated, scoring 80 goals in their 22 games while allowing 12 goals. Their three losses were by 1-0 scores.
Other members of the team are seniors Hallie Wade, Sasha Schramm, Alayna Streeter, Emma Will and Mikaylah Pocock; juniors Julia Will, Emma Dormann, Grace Capostagno, Kendall Phillips and Stella Briggs; sophomores Megan Zwerka-Snyder, Victoria Rogoyski and Novalee Pocock; freshman Ashley Schlenker-Stephens, and eighth graders Grace Diquattro and Megan Jarkiewicz.
Gina Gray, Grace Campbell and Luke Audsley are the assistant coaches.
With so many players set to return for at least a couple more seasons – plus strong modified and junior varsity programs – the future looks bright for B-B girls soccer.
“We are going to be good for a while,” Hill said.
Submitted photo: Byron-Bergen varsity girls soccer team gather for a team picture following their Far West Regional victory over Frewsburg.