Tonawanda News — One game down, one more to go.
Paula Pinkert notched the hat trick as the Tonawanda Lady Warriors topped Kenmore East 4-1 in the opening round of the Danny Durick Kick-Off Tournament that was played at Clinton H.Small Stadium on Friday afternoon.
The win vaults the Warriors into today’s title game against Wilson at 5 p.m. Wilson punched its ticket to the title game via a 2-1 win over a tough Sacred Heart squad.
The Lady Warriors will attempt to win the Durick tourney for the first time since 2006. Most of the early action took place at midfield, as both teams seemed to be going through a feeling out process to start the game. Pinkert broke through with the first of her three goals — all set up by Kalyn Compeau — midway through the first half when she beat Lady Bulldogs keeper Rose Mueller.
“She’s always wanted a starting forward spot but it just didn’t workout,” Tonawanda coach Julie Johnson said of Pinkert. “She’s played a lot in the midfield and she was waiting for her opportunity and she definitely proved she belongs out there (at forward) for the rest of the season.”
Meghan Thomas used a strong second effort to score the goal that extended Tonawanda’s lead to 2-0. To Mueller’s credit she made at least four big saves that kept Kenmore East in the game.
The Bulldogs cut the deficit to 2-1 with 21:25 left in the game when Meagan Vrooman scored on a PK after Tonawanda was called for a handball.
Losing five starters to graduation, the Warriors knew the door of opportunity was wide open for girls to step up and play bigger roles this year. Pinkert believes they did just that Friday night.
“We lost a lot but we’ve got good girls this year,” Pinkert said. “We have a good team.”