CBA soccer makes return to state final four

After another shot of turbulence in the middle, the Christian Brothers Academy boys soccer team punched its ticket for the state Class A final four.

The Brothers earned its trip to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta by beating Section VII champion Beekmantown 4-1 last Friday night at West Genesee High School.

This is CBA's first trip to the semifinals since 2000, when it got to the state Class B title game at Liverpool before falling to Rochester Aquinas.

Just to get to Beekmantown, the Brothers had to endure a harrowing regional battle with Section II champion Burnt Hills/Ballston Lake last Wednesday night at Chittenango, pulling out a 1-0 victory over the Spartans.

Stymied for much of the night by Burnt Hills goalie Jared Schreiner, CBA finally broke the stalemate when L.J. Papaleo scored on a shot that nicked off a Burnt Hills defender with 3:10 left in regulation.

"Tonight we had to meet their intensity," said head coach Joe Papaleo. "And we did. The guys worked so hard for this one."

What helped, of course, was that the Brothers had four days to rest after its Nov. 3 win over Fulton in the Section III Class A final.

By contrast, Burnt Hills had played just two nights before in its sectional final. Still, while it had a 14-8 record, those losses came to Class AA teams in a tough league.

"They had seen teams like us and were ready for us," said Joe Papaleo.

The rest gave time for L.J. Papaleo to recover from the ankle injury he suffered in the game against Fulton. He didn't start, but after entering the contest midway through the first half, he went full speed.

So did the rest of the Brothers, who spent much of the game in full attack mode, finding constant frustration.

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