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First-team players turn in encore performances
News Sports Reporter
Ronald Colleran/Buffalo News
Members of the All-WNY girls soccer team are (front row, from left): Shannon Algoe, Williamsville North; Dani Radlich, Clarence; Caitlin Long, Mount St. Mary; Christa Morgante, Williamsville East; Molly Bojanek, Williamsville East; and Rachel Piemonte, Williamsville East. Back row (from left): Kathleen Dipasquale, Williamsville North; Jessica Remmes, Grand Island; Alicia Barnaby, Grand Island; Jessica Kuehne, Grand Island; Natalie Hojnacki, Nardin; Samantha Berwick, North Tonawanda; and Brittany Heist, Lancaster.


The best teams in any sport are a good mix of veteran stars and young talent, and that's the case with this year's All-Western New York girls soccer squad.

There are six repeat selections, including three-time first teamers Jessica Remmes of Grand Island and Kathleen Dipasquale of Williamsville North. There are also seven juniors and sophomore defender Shannon Algoe of Williamsville North on the 13-player team.

Class A champion Grand Island, which advanced to its fourth straight state final four, and Class A runner-up Williamsville East, led with three selections apiece. Williamsville North has two.

Here's a back-to-front look at the team, selected by a panel of area coaches:

Molly Bojanek, Williamsville East: The Flames are one of the area's best teams because they have one of the area's best goalies in the two-time first teamer. The junior had 11 shutouts and a 0.5 goals-against average, allowing 11 goals during the Flames' 19-1-2 season. Set school records for goals against (nine) and GAA (.43) as a sophomore.

Shannon Algoe, Williamsville North: The only sophomore on the team is a sterling defender who has played three varsity seasons for the Spartans. Two-time ECIC I first-teamer also helped up front as well with four goals and eight assists, and she made the game-clinching penalty kick in North's shootout victory over Lancaster in the Class AA semifinals.

Kathleen Dipasquale, Williamsville North: Superb senior defender helped Spartans to sectional titles in 2003 and 2005 and also captained the Western team to the gold medal at the Empire State Games last summer in the Hudson Valley. Considering Canisius, University at Buffalo, Geneseo and St. Bonaventure.

Jessica Kuehne, Grand Island: Junior defender ran a unit that had 13 shutouts during a 21-2-1 season. Also contributed four goals and six assists and converted her penalty kick in GI's tense shootout win over Aquinas in the Far West Regionals. Just as memorable for Kuehne was GI's sectional final win over Williamsville East, which was then ranked first among WNY large schools.

Christa Morgante, Williamsville East: Junior sweeper has anchored a defense which allowed just 11 goals. Morgante has been part of East's 49-9-8 mark over the last three seasons, including two straight trips to the Section VI Class A finals. Also pitched in two goals and seven assists. Has 93 average, is a Girl Scouts silver award recipient and coaches U-6 team in Amherst Youth Soccer.

Alicia Barnaby, Grand Island: While Kuehne runs things in the back and Remmes does the scoring up front, the junior center midfielder does everything in between for the Vikings. Has been part of GI's last three state final four teams. Had eight goals and 11 assists while controlling the pace of the game.

Samantha Berwick, North Tonawanda: Senior midfielder had 20 goals and 17 assists for the Lady Jacks. Four-year varsity player went from team Rookie of the Year as a freshman to defensive MVP as a sophomore to team captain and team MVP as a senior. Also plays lacrosse. Interested in working in education.

Brittany Heist, Lancaster: Junior center midfielder has a knack for heading in goals and scoring game-winning goals (four). She led the Redskins with 14 goals and seven assists. Also the team captain and a four-year Olympic Development Program veteran. She had two goals to help Western to Empire State Games gold this summer.

Caitlin Long, Mount St. Mary: Junior center midfielder was the MVP of the Monsignor Martin Association as she helped the Thunder win the league title and reach the state Catholic championship final, which they lost. Her season's highlight was memorable: just 14 seconds after Nichols tied the MMA final on a penalty kick, Long brought the ball upfield and fed Emily Wyse for a goal in the 2-1 win.

Natalie Hojnacki, Nardin: The senior forward is back on the first team after having quite the comeback this season: Hojnacki returned from anterior cruciate ligament surgery to score 29 goals and add 11 assists. Four-time All-Catholic first teamer helped the Gators to league titles in 2003 and 2004 and scored the winning goal as Nardin won at eventual champion Mount St. Mary during the regular season. Headed to Lehigh University to study business.

Rachel Piemonte, Williamsville East: Junior forward led the league in goals as a freshman but this year set a school record for assists. Her 29 assists and 15 goals accounted for nearly half of the Flames' 90 goals this season. Helped East go undefeated in ECIC II and to the Class A championship after a marathon, 1-0, four-overtime victory over rival Williamsville South.

Dani Radlich, Clarence: Senior forward is a four-year varsity player who is a repeat first-team selection. Had 19 goals to help Red Devils to the Class AA quarterfinals one year after she scored 25 times in Clarence's AA title year. Also helped Western to a gold medal at the Empire State Games in the Hudson Valley. Will pursue a veterinary technology major at Medaille.

Jessica Remmes, Grand Island: Lethal scorer will head to James Madison University on scholarship after one of the most prolific careers in WNY history. Senior forward scored 168 goals and had 107 assists, both school records at one of the area's best programs. After earning All-WNY honorable mention as a freshman, the five-year varsity player has been a first teamer ever since, capping off her career with All-American honors this year. Five-time scholar-athlete award winner who also plays basketball is considering a major in special education.