A new structure for the Finger Lakes girls soccer league allowed coaches to schedule more non-league opponents this season. That’s because the Finger Lakes High School Athletic Association decided to realign the Finger Lakes League, going from a two-division system (Finger Lakes West and East) to a three-division system (Finger Lakes West, Central and East). The decision was made at the end of the 2009-10 school year

A new structure for the Finger Lakes girls soccer league allowed coaches to schedule more non-league opponents this season. That’s because the Finger Lakes High School Athletic Association decided to realign the Finger Lakes League, going from a two-division system (Finger Lakes West and East) to a three-division system (Finger Lakes West, Central and East). The decision was made at the end of the 2009-10 school year

The Finger Lakes Central includes Bloomfield (class CC), Honeoye (class C), Marcus Whitman (class B), Mynderse (class B), Naples (class CC) and Waterloo (class BB).

The Finger Lakes East includes Geneva (class A), Midlakes (class BB), Newark (class A), Wayne Central (class A), Palmyra-Macedon (class A) and Penn Yan (class BB).

The Finger Lakes West includes Red Jacket (class C), Romulus (class DD), South Seneca (class C), Harley-Allendale Columbia (class C) and Dundee (class C). The west would include DeSales (class D), but the school isn’t fielding a team this year.

Previously, there were nine teams per division with each team playing 16 league games and two non-league games. However, two years ago the state cut the number of games from 18 to 16 for budget reasons.

“This then did not give teams any room to pick up non-league contests which are valuable to help challenge teams in different ways,” said Grace Wood, the Finger Lakes West and Central coordinator. “For example, if you have a great team one year and have an easy time defeating league teams, a school could pick up a couple of more challenging contests to help prepare for sectional play and improve their team’s overall skills.”

The new three-division format gives teams 10 league games and coaches have the option of scheduling up to six non-league games. The non-league games can also be games from the other Finger Lakes divisions. For example, Red Jacket coach Andy Wight scheduled non-league games with Bloomfield, Marcus Whitman and Honeoye.

The divisions are made based on school population with the exception of South Seneca, which swapped spots with Naples by request.

At the end of the season, there will be three division champions, but no one Finger Lakes League champion.  

Midlakes coach Carl Spoto thinks there will be more parity in the new system.

“With two divisions, it might be a little heavy at the top, so teams at the bottom don’t have as much of a chance to compete for league titles,” he said. “Now, the opportunity to play for a championship is pretty good.”