In wildly different ways, the Hamilton and Morrisville-Eaton boys soccer teams got to the quarterfinal round of their respective Section III playoff rounds -- but only one managed to go further.
Hamilton, the defending state Class D champions, began its formal defense last Wednesday night with a solid 4-1 victory over LaFargeville, then went on to fight past Alexandria Bay 2-0 in Saturday's quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, M-E, placed in the Class C tournament, needed overtime to squeeze past Thousand Islands 2-1 in the first round, but got ousted Saturday by Bishop Ludden 5-0 in the quarterfinals.
Hamilton had fallen to a no. 4 seed in Class D because it had not scored in either of its last two regular-season games (losses to Mount Markham and Fabius-Pompey). Thus, it was all too eager to get the offense going against LaFargeville, the no. 13 seed.
In fact, it took seven minutes for the Emerald Knights to go in front 1-0 as Sam Owens, off Drew Thompson's feed from the right side, converted the go-ahead goal. Just two minutes later, Owens crossed -- and it was Blaine Holcomb scoring to make it 2-0.
Despite Hamilton's complete control and lots of other chances, it remained a two-goal margin until Dan Kraynak cranked up a 23-yard shot and struck it just inside the left post in the 66th minute. Later, Kraynak's long and accurate pass set up Jake Smith for the final goal.
Amid a lot of wind and rain on Saturday, Hamilton would find it more difficult to generate a consistent attack against Alexandria Bay, a no. 12 seed seeking a second straight upset after knocking off no. 5 seed Old Forge in the first round.
Thus, Kraynak was glad to take over again. Twice in the first half, he broke through and put shots into the net, giving Hamilton an early cushion as Thompson got one assist.