Finally, we’re back!

Week 1 of the high school sports season begins today

The fall season of varsity high school sports begins today, as boys/girls soccer, cross country, girls tennis, volleyball, and swimming get underway, before the cheerleaders and football teams hit the field on Friday night. Before previewing the football season later this week, now is the time to look at the most important points of the first week of action.

Westfield/Brocton boys, girls soccer teams face off against Randolph:

With talented players returning on both the boys and girls squads, the Wolverines and Lady Wolverines will be fun to watch in 2018. The boys team will travel to Randolph to begin the season on Tuesday, then will host Randolph on Thursday in Westfield. The team features three seniors — Matt See, Luke Stephenson and Noah Knappenberger — along with junior goalkeeper Mike Johnson and junior forwards Jason Almeter and Nate Culbreth. After an appearance in the Class C sectional title game in 2017, Westfield-Brocton is poised for big things again in 2018.

The Lady Wolverines will be a solid team once again in 2018. After a heartbreaking end to the 2017 season — a 3-2 playoff loss in double overtime at home to Cattaraugus/Little Valley — the Lady Wolverines look to start the 2018 season on a much higher note. The Lady Wolverines’ season begins Wednesday at Randolph, followed by a home matchup with Randolph on Friday.

Fredonia girls, boys soccer teams host Maple Grove:

On Tuesday, the Fredonia Hillbillies host the Maple Grove Red Dragons to begin the high school soccer season in Fredonia, while the Lady ‘Billies host Maple Grove the following day. Each team will be looking to replace a lot from last season’s squad.

The Hillbillies lose nine seniors from 2017: Ian Brown, Andrew Conti, Carter D’Agostino, Jason Genovese, Nolan Mages, Seth Schrader, Jackson Taylor, Alex Venn and Austin Venn. Replacing D’Agostino in goal will be a key to the 2018 season, but the Hillbillies need to have goal scorers step up this year as well, with Schrader and Genovese no longer on Fredonia’s roster.

The Lady ‘Billies also have key spots to fill from last season’s squad — a team that upset Olmsted in the sectional playoffs in 2017. First Team All-Star Melissa Berg — Fredonia’s leading scorer — has graduated, along with goalkeeper Breanna Rosen. Cassie Essek, Meredith Wheelock, Madison Engel and Madison Goss all graduated, as well. Kaylee DeLao returns in 2018 with goalkeeping experience for Fredonia, while Kazlin Beers and Ella Gould are among the expected returners from 2017, as well.

Maple Grove provides a very tough test in the first game, as the Lady Red Dragons began the 2017 season 18-0, before falling to Allegany-Limestone in the sectional title game. In a tough non-league game like this will be for Fredonia, the most important thing to see is how younger players will step up when pressed into new roles in 2018.

Forestville volleyball hosts state runner-up Panama:

When the Lady Hornets volleyball team last hit the gym floor, the visiting Panama Lady Panthers came away with a dominant victory, proving that Panama should never have been a sectional tournament 5-seed to begin with. That was emphasized time and time again, as Panama claimed a sectional title and went all the way to the NY State Championship match, before falling three sets to one.

Now, at long last, Forestville gets its shot at revenge for Panama ending the Lady Hornets’ 2017 season on its home floor. Though Forestville’s star Brooke Ostrye graduated in the offseason, along with five others from the 2017 roster, the Lady Hornets surely wish to begin the 2018 season on a better note than the 2017 season ended on.

The revenge game begins Forestville’s 2018 season on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. in the Forestville High School gym.

The season may just be beginning this week, but first impressions can leave a lasting impact. It will be interesting to see what stands out when the week is said and done, but regardless of the results, it will surely be good to have local high school teams back in action.

Twitter: @bradencarmen

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