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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 12, 2009


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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 12, 2009


Blackbirds net Class CC title, fall to Waterford in next round

By Jordan J. Michael

COLONIE –– The Voorheesville boys’ soccer team is flying high once again.

The Birds battled all the way to the bitter end with Schoharie on Saturday in Colonie and the Class CC final went to penalty kicks. Junior Andrew Cole buried the final shot and Voorheesville was named champ for the first time since 2004.

On Monday, the Birds lost to Waterford in the first round of the state playoffs but are still proud of making it as far as they did.

“Once the disappointment of this night dies off, we’ll be proud of the championship we earned,” said Meyer, a starting senior. “We have an amazing team. This will be the start of something.”

According to Section II rules, a game that ends in a tie after 110 minutes of play, like Saturday’s game, means that the two teams are named co-champions. The penalty kicks decide which team moves on to the next round.

The Blackbirds believe they won the title, fair and square. Both teams were pictured with the championship hardware.

“I don’t understand the whole ‘co-champs’ idea and I don’t think I knew much about it,” said Voorheesville keeper Joe Keenan who stopped two of the Indians’ penalty kicks. “We won the game, but they still get a part of it. It’s confusing.”

“We get to move on and they don’t,” said Cole. “That’s the only thing that matters.”

Chris Dimmitt and David Suozzo put the other two penalty kicks past Schoharie goalie Sean Lawyer. Dylan LeBadia put the only one in for the Indians, before Keenan came up big. The final score was 4 to 2.

“I’m telling my players that they’re the champs,” Head Coach Willie Sanchez said. “I’m very proud because we deserved this. We were able to maintain composure and put enough together, despite being tired after 110 minutes.”

Voorheesville came out ready to play on Saturday under the bright skies and started controlling possession. The team was making smart passes and Schoharie looked to be a little nervous on the big stage, seeing that this was its first appearance in the finals.

Dimmitt set up a corner kick with 27 minutes left in the first half and he hit a beautiful ball that curled into the high back corner of the net over the arms of Lawyer. It was 1 to 0 Blackbirds and the pressure would keep coming.

Hayden Wood looked to have a sure goal for Voorheesville when he beat three defenders into the box and let loose a close-range shot that was saved by Lawyer. Zack Keller had a close-range shot of his own that was again saved by Lawyer, who was single handedly keeping Schoharie alive.

A Blackbird shot beat Lawyer, but Lucas Howland was there to kick it off the line and out of danger. At the other end, Voorheesville defender Eric Meyer made a similar play on the goal line to save a shot by Trevor Norman that beat Keenan.

The Indians picked up play in the final 10 minutes of the half. Keenan got airborne to save a free kick from Terrence Bevins, and Keenan had to dive to save a shot off the foot of Cody LaBadia.

Stress

“Schoharie is a very physical team and we got knocked every time that we had possession,” said Sanchez. “Despite getting hit, we still played our game.”

Joe Cillis had the first Voorheesville chance in the second half, but Lawyer was there for the save. Cody Stephenson got a yellow card with 25 minutes remaining and Pat Brousseau got his own yellow card for the Blackbirds about seven minutes later.

Dylan LaBadia, the Indians’ leading scorer, was awarded a direct kick with less than 20 minutes left after he got tripped up on a breakaway. The 25-yard attempt went high and Labadia turned away in frustration.

With about 15 minutes left in regulation play and Schoharie still searching for a goal, LaBadia was fouled again in almost the exact same spot. He would not miss this time and the nice hard shot found its way over the wall and into the net as it curled away from a diving Keenan.

“It was hard to see through the wall we set up,” said Keenan after the game. “I was one too many steps to the left.”

Schoharie and Voorheesville exchanged a few mild chances in the final 10 minutes, but regulation ended in a 1-to-1 tie. The crowd was hoping for an overtime goal but it never came.

The first 15-minute overtime was played mostly in the middle of the field because neither team wanted its season to end. Come the second overtime, the two sides were showing signs of fatigue.

Blackbird freshman Blake Fenner got his head on the ball in the box with about five minutes left, but it went over the crossbar. Wood looked to score the winning goal off an assist from Cillis, but the played was called off due to an off sides. Wood had another chance in front of the goal and shot it wide left.

Class CC had co-champions.

“We have never been this far so it feels OK,” said Schoharie Head Coach Will Bevins. “We lost to them last year in sectionals and they’re still the better skilled team.”

“As a player, you want to do whatever you can to keep the season going,” Keenan said. “I did my job and I had no doubt that the rest of my team would do theirs.”

“Both teams were trying extremely hard towards the end,” Cole added.

“This game gets really fun after the pressure of sectionals wears off,” said Sanchez. “The journey of ups and downs is the best part of it all. We overcame the odds and the doubters. We succeeded despite being counted out.”

Next round

Voorheesville met Class C champ Waterford on Monday in Colonie for the right to play in the regional round of the state soccer tournament. Even though the Blackbirds controlled much of the possession, the team couldn’t buy a goal.

The Fordians got a goal in the first minute when Zac Lennon found a bouncing ball in the box and bodied it by Keenan. That goal clearly shocked the Blackbirds and Waterford scored another goal 17 minutes later.

Voorheesville controlled the ball for the majority of the remaining 60 minutes, but the Fordian defense of Joe Chiera, Nick Forget, Jeff Ippolito, and Connor Noel held strong. Waterford was the team to move on this time, 2-0.

“Playing under pressure is a tough thing to do,” said senior Keller. “I’m very proud of this team. It was a memorable year.”

Coach Sanchez knows that soccer can be an unforgiving game. “You can build, possess, and still not score,” he said. “We would like to redo that first 10 minutes.”

The Blackbirds have plenty of talent coming back for next season.

“This team knows what its like to win now,” said Sanchez. “It’s all about getting back to this point. We started the formula.”


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