AMHERST — Aside from one small hiccup against Kenmore East during the Niagara-Orleans League regular season, the Barker field hockey team has been nearly flawless in 2013.
Barker earned the No. 1 seed in the Class C sectional playoffs, and played like it all the way through, capping a dominating playoff run with a 3-1 victory over No. 3 Eden in Wednesday's sectional final at Amherst HS.
With the win, Barker advances to face East Rochester at 1 p.m. Saturday in Medina, in the first round of the state tournament.
After defeating No. 4 Holland in a relentless downpour on Halloween night by a 4-0 margin, Barker appeared to have better luck with the weather this time around, as warm-ups were conducted under pleasant conditions. But a few seconds before the opening whistle sounded, the rain started to come down in droves, and it stayed that way throughout the game.
No matter, though. Barker came out of the gate aggressive and forced a number of early penalty corner opportunities, clearly asserting itself as the more talented team and dominating time of possession. Eden's goalie made a few early saves, but Barker senior captain Brooke Bodine scored with 19 minutes left in the first half, on a shot from in front of the net that made its way through a crowded goal crease.
Just three minutes later, Barker got some breathing room as a result of two consecutive penalty corners. Barker coach Jeff Costello urged his team to draw corners throughout the game, and senior captain Olivia Denny took advantage of a crisp corner pass from junior Melissa Grosshans at the 16-minute mark, firing another shot through traffic that made the score 2-0. The two-goal margin held up until halftime.
"That was the best first half we've had all season long," Costello said. "We tend to have a slow start, but I thought we came out really solid."