Weekly Feature



2016-08-24 / Sports

School’s all-time leading goal scorer paces East girls soccer

Lady Flames seek three-peat in Class A
PATRICK NAGY
Sports Reporter


Williamsville East’s Marissa Birzon, right, battles with Brighton’s Catharine Lewis for possession during the Class A Far West Regional last year. Birzon scored a school record 50 goals as a junior and also holds the East career goals mark with 112. She is the reigning All-Bee Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Williamsville East’s Marissa Birzon, right, battles with Brighton’s Catharine Lewis for possession during the Class A Far West Regional last year. Birzon scored a school record 50 goals as a junior and also holds the East career goals mark with 112. She is the reigning All-Bee Girls Soccer Player of the Year. File photo by Patrick McPartland Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com

Chris Durr has coached many great soccer players in his 22 years at Williamsville East. None have been as good as Marissa Birzon.

The senior forward enters her fifth and final season with the Lady Flames with a school record 112 career goals after a single-season record 50 tallies as a junior.

Birzon was the main cog last year in East’s run to a second consecutive Section VI Class A title — ninth section title overall — and a second trip to the state semifinals in school history.

Birzon was named the All-Bee Girls Soccer Player of the Year, All-Western New York Player of the Year, All-State First Team Class A and National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Region Team and ECIC II First Team. She has committed to play at Ohio State next fall.

“She’s easily the best player I have ever coached on and off the field,” Durr said. “She is what you want in a leader and player. She’s unselfish and is already working with the younger players. She understands that we are going to need everybody that is on this team to have a successful year to be able to repeat what we did last year.”

Birzon is team captains with senior Riley Fitzsimmons, a three-year starter at defensive stopper, and junior Tess Ford, a four-year starter in the midfield. Fitzsimmons is a returning ECIC II First Team all-star. Ford and Fitzsimmons were also All-Bee Second Team all-stars.

Other returning players include seniors Alex Bone (midfield/forward) and Grace Beichner (sweeper) and junior Ruby Zhang (forward/ midfield), all returning ECIC II Second Team all-stars, and sophomore Chloe Berti (defense). Beichner also was an All-Bee Second Team all-star.

Senior midfielder Isabelle Binfield but is capable of playing defensive stopper or forward.

Senior Meredith Irving is a three-year outside midfield and senior Meredith Waddle will back up junior goalie Sarah Panepento.

Making their varsity debuts are juniors Sarah Blumberg (defense), Sofia Petrulla (forward), Aleena Roland (defense), Mikayla Crawford (defense/midfield), sophomores Ali Cirulli (forward) and Rachel Romanowski (forward), and freshmen Gretchen Beyer (forward/ midfield), Alyssa Fabozzi (midfield), Kristen Lee (defense/midfield) and Madeline Olsen (defense/ midfield/forward).

East, 20-2 overall and 11-1 in ECIC II last year, opens at home against West Seneca East at 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8 and Williamsville South at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10.

East’s non-league schedule includes Orchard Park, Williamsville North and York, a Section V team from Geneseo, and Class B state finalist Wilson.

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