Nov 10, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Jamesville-DeWitt’s boys soccer team wanted to make more history, joining its female counterparts as first-time Section III Class A champions.
But New Hartford would not let that happen.
In a battle of the top two seeds in the Class A championship game Monday at Herkimer County Community College, the Spartans would prevail, beating the Red Rams 2-0 for its first sectional championship since 2004.
Just from a physical standpoint, New Hartford had the edge — taller, stronger, faster and more seasoned, since J-D only started three seniors.
Still, it was the Rams getting a majority of the early scoring chances, using its youthful aggression to bother New Hartford and prove that it wasn’t nervous on this big stage.
Slowed down by J-D’s tactics and forced to be defensive, New Hartford ached to see the return of its transition game — and when it took place, it went out in front.
In the game’s 24th minute, Pat Alcott broke loose with possession of the ball. Running down toward the Rams’ net, Alcott passed it to Zach Hecox, the Spartans’ leading scorer, who zipped a shot past Zach Tanner into the net for his 18th goal of the season.
Were it not for Tim Kendrick’s alert stop in front of the net in the 30th minute, J-D might have seen its deficit grow. As it was, the Rams still were down 1-0 at the half.
Just as with the start of the game, J-D began the second half on the offensive, battling its way toward the Spartans’ end and staying there for 10 minutes, with Jimmy Fazio breaking open for shots that kept getting eaten up by New Hartford goalie Tom Gilroy.
Rarely did New Hartford attack during that stretch — but when it did, and Hecox had another chance to score off a pass from a streaking A.J. Wolfanger, Tanner sprawled to make his best save of the night.
Gradually, the Rams’ attack waned, and New Hartford applied its own pressure. Tanner made seven saves, but watched as, with 8:27 left, Wolfanger made another deft pass to the middle. This time, Joe Affatigato didn’t miss, powering a shot past Tanner to clinch it.
As New Hartford advanced to a regional playoff game against Mohonasen (Section II), J-D finished a 14-5 campaign that included memorable playoff wins over Fowler and Chittenango.
Kendrick, Robbie Elbers and Tom Driscoll are the lone graduating starters. Tanner, Fazio, Zander El-Hindi, Noel Williams, Tom Lukow, Matt Kopp, Austin Roney and Anthony Epifani all come back next fall, perhaps ready to take the last step to the top.