Oct 29, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In one action-packed Friday, three local boys soccer teams – one from Jamesville-DeWitt, another from Manlius-Pebble Hill, and a third from Fayetteville-Manilus – all entered the Section III playoff fray as no. 1 seeds, expected to excel.
And thanks to some brilliant individual performances, the Red Rams, Hornets and Trojans all moved ahead in their respective quarterifnals. J-D rode Zander El-Hindi to a 3-0 shutout of Whitesboro, while Mike Kardjian carried MPH past Bishop Grimes 4-0 and Joe Mahr took over in F-M’s 4-1 conquest of Nottingham.
At J-D, which is still looking for its first-ever sectional championship (it lost in the finals to New Hartford in 2009), the top seed in Class A only guaranteed a bigger target. But it was in control from the start against Whitesboro, who needed a penalty-kick shoot-out win over Indian River just to get this far.
After a series of early attacks could not produce a goal, the Rams broke through in the 25th minute when El Hindi took a long pass from Pablo Martinez, sped up the right side and belted a hard shot past Warrior goalie Dave Abdou into the top left corner of the net, putting the hosts up 1-0.
For a long while, it remained a one-goal margin, and Whitesboro even put up some brief attacks in the second half that the J-D defense handled. Then El Hindi returned and, in the 58th minute, produced a deft mass to the middle that Jimmy Fazio put into the net when Abdou charged too far. Just three minutes later, El Hindi again took a strong pass from Martinez and again scored, this time on a low shot just inside the left post.
With the win, J-D moves on to face East Syracuse-Minoa in the Class A semifinals. Back on Thursday night, the no. 4 seed Spartans took full advantage of some early breaks and knocked out no. 5 seed Oneida by a score of 2-0.
Rarely did the Spartans get many chances through the game’s opening stages. Yet it moved out in front to stay less than five minutes into the game as Joshua Stuper, from 35 yards out, drilled a shot that eluded goalie Brendan Didio, giving ESM a 1-0 edge.
Midway through the half, Senid Hakic sent a pass through the middle that careened off an Oneida defender past Didio, doubling the margin. For the rest of the night, ESM’s defense did a superb job protecting that lead, bottling up the Indians’ front line. Only twice did Casey Sullivan have to make direct stops. The winner between ESM and J-D gets New Hartford or Carthage for the Class A championship.
Meanwhile, on Friday MPH, whose loss to Westhill in the regular-season finale was the team’s first blemish after a 15-0 start (it also fell from no. 1 to no. 3 in the state Class C rankings), put its top seed on the line against no. 8 seed Bishop Grimes, who edged past Westmoreland 2-1 in the opening round.
For a half, the Trojans, who beat the Cobras twice in the regular season, could not solve the Grimes defense, and the two sides went to halftime 0-0. Then Kardjian took charge.
All the MPH senior did in the second half was put in two unassisted goals and, when he got covered, earned assists on the other two scoring plays as Jun Lee and Baird Hansen both converted. The Trojans’ defense held Grimes to a scant two shots, as in defeat Mike Besbiaty finished with 10 saves.
Grimes concluded its season with a 9-8-1 mark, while MPH finds itself meeting no. 4 seed Sauquoit Valley, a 2-1 overtime survivor over Frankfort-Schuyler, in the Class C semifinals. Whoever wins gets defending champion Cooperstown or Thousand Islands in the title game.
As night fell on a cold Friday at Swan Pond, F-M stepped onto the playoff stage as the top seed in the Class AA tournament. Nottingham, the no. 8 seed, had blanked city rival Fowler 2-0 in Wednesday’s opening round, but had no answer for Mahr, the Hornets’ senior who, is in his fourth varsity campaign, is thirsting to win his first sectional championship.
Even in F-M’s storied soccer history (it has more Section III banners than anyone else in Central New York), it has rarely seen a performance like this. Twice in the first half, Mahr flashed open and put in goals, giving his side a 2-0 edge. Then in the second half, Mahr completed the hat trick, then converted again for a fourth time, setting a new career mark.
Fellow long-time Hornet stars Brian Ward and Kris Alestalo helped out, Ward and Alestalo earning two assists apiece. Pierrot Rutagarama did score for Nottingham in the second half to break up the shutout, but the Hornets’ defense turned everything else away as Ryan Carter stopped nine of the 10 shots he faced.
In the Class AA semifinals, F-M will get no. 5 seed West Genesee, who knocked out CBA 2-0 to get this far. Back on Sept. 20, the Hornets made a late comeback (Hallie Marr scored late in regulation, then again in overtime) to beat the Wildcats 2-1 in Camillus. Now they meet again, with the winner getting Baldwinsville or Cicero-North Syracuse in the finals.
Just to emphasize this whole theme of star turns, the J-D girls soccer team, also a top seed in its Class A tournament bracket, saw Jessica Holmes take over early in Thursday’s Class A quarterfinal, an 8-0 romp over Fulton.
Having beaten the Red Raiders twice in the regular season, J-D knew exactly what to expect and attacked from the opening kickoff with a stiff wind at its back. By the time the first half was done, the Rams led, 6-0, and were safely through to the next round.
Holmes led the charge, pouring in four goals and one assist before it was done. Tessa Devereaux found the net twice, while Olivia Ferlenda and Emily Elbers also scored. Emily Nuss added an assist. J-D gets Cortland (who beat rival Homer 2-1 in overtime) in the Class A semifinals, with the survivor drawing Whitesboro or Chittenango in next weekend’s title match.