Camillus Were it not for the presence of Conor Race, the Skaneateles boys soccer team would likely have secured a spot in the Section III Class B championship game.
However, Race was there for Cazenovia, and his amazing second-half performance was the main reason why Cazenovia eliminated Skaneateles 3-1 in Thursday night’s Class B semifinal Laker showdown at West Genesee High School.
Race headed in a Conner Polsin set piece in the 64th minute, beat Skaneateles goalkeeper Erik Pola on a chip shot four minutes later and finished off the trifecta with an easy one from straightaway in the 74th minute.
All of this followed a quiet first half in the cold, damp conditions. Neither side could get anything going, and it was 0-0 going to the break.
“As well as Skaneateles as was doing I think the best defender on the field was the pressure our guys were putting on themselves,” Cazenovia coach Adam Reynolds said.
“Everyone was trying to hit that one-in-a-million ball, that amazing pass and we didn’t need to do that. We needed to get four or five passes instead of that one amazing pass and they started doing that.”
Early in the second half, though, it appeared Skaneateles was in position for the victory.
Lining up in the wishbone, with three players behind a set piece 30 yards out, Tyler Strods and Sean Farrell both ran over the ball before senior captain Ryan Higman drilled a knuckleball directly at Cazenovia goalie Chris Matteson. Matteson got both hands on the ball, but it bounced off Strods and Farrell and caromed into the net.
“Higman’s one of our leaders, our seniors,” Skaneateles coach Kirk Atwater said. “We’ve kind of rode their backs through the season. In the first part of the season I told them that we were going to go as far as they take us.”