Soccer teams from Manlius-Pebble Hill and Bishop Grimes tried to navigate through the opening week of the Section III Class C playoffs, and three of them were still alive entering the semifinal rounds.
Defending its sectional crown, the MPH boys team, with the no. 5 seed, opened against no. 12 seed Mohawk and put together a 3-0 shutout of the Mohicans.
Despite constant pressure, the Trojans could rarely solve Mohawk goalie Pat Mills, who made 24 saves. Only in the second half did MPH, up 1-0, get away. Jimmy Gavigan, Richie Medina and Tim Glass had the goals, with Waytt Scott and Gerrit Church adding assists.
This led to a Class C quarterfinal and a long trip up north to play no. 4 seed Thousand Islands. And despite an early deficit, the Trojans roared back and knocked out the Vikings 3-1.
Perhaps the long bus trip had an effect on MPH, for it could not put its offense together in the first half, watching as Thousand Islands inched into a 1-0 lead on Scott McKain’s goal.
Once MPH tied it in the second half, though, everything turned around, and the Trojans roared out in front and stayed there behind goals from Richie Medina, Wyatt Scott and Solomon Ochieng. Jimmy Gavigan and Gerrit Church added assists.
Bishop Grimes, with the no. 6 seed, had to rally past no. 11 seed Sauquoit Valley 2-1 in overtime in the opening round at Nottingham High School.
Tyler Richards had put Sauquoit up 1-0 in the first half. But Grimes tied it as Christian Freeman took a feed from Nai Mayen and converted the tying goal.
Then, in the first sudden-victory OT period, Mayen worked around Sauquoit goalie Evan Owens and put home the game-winner. Mike Bespiaty shut out the Indians after the first half on his way to seven saves.