Oct 31, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For much of a tense Section III Class AA semifinal Wednesday night at Nottingham High School, Connor Lunduski was a spectator as his Baldwinsville boys soccer team fended off the numerous advances of Liverpool.
But when it came time to participate, Lunduski did so in the most spectacular way possible, as his goal late in regulation made the difference as the Bees knocked out the Warriors 1-0.
The win gives B’ville, who won or shared every sectional title from 2007 to 2011, a chance at a sixth title in seven years as it advances to the championship game against Fayetteville-Manlius, who beat top seed Cicero-North Syracuse 2-1 in the other AA semifinal.
Ironically, that game will be on Liverpool’s home turf, starting at 7:15 following the Class B sectional final between Westhill and Skaneateles.
As the no. 3 seed, B’ville carried with it the distant memory of beating Liverpool in overtime 3-2 back on Sept. 14. Now, though, it was the Warriors that held the no. 2 seed and a no. 20 state ranking, just one spot behind the Bees.
The two sides would play through a 0-0 first half that did not feature many scoring opportunities. Liverpool made longer runs at the net, while B’ville stuck with shorter passes, attempting to set up chances but rarely getting around the Warriors’ defenders.
Moving to the second half, Liverpool’s pressure intensified. This would test what B’ville head coach Tim Scheemaker said was his team’s strategy going into the night.
“We worked on being organized in the back,” he said. “And we were just looking to sneak one in the net.”
Credit for the organization went to defenders Erik Ferrari, Connor Ross, Braeden Miles and Alex Sheperd, who never let Liverpool’s fleet front line find much open space once it got near the Bees’ net.
Still, there were times where goalie Alex Lindovski had to step up. With 9:10 to play, Liverpool’s Joe Pugh found himself open in front for the split second needed to take a hard shot to the right post, but Lindovski dove to make the game’s biggest save, one of seven he made overall.
Energized by that stop, B’ville started to attack a bit more, probing for any sort of opening. With 5:05 to play, the opportunity presented itself to Lunduski, who didn’t waste it.
The senior forward, situated 25 yards from the net, took a pass from Jason Ekure and, in one quick motion, hit a note-perfect shot that Liverpool goalie Cody Peck had no chance to stop as it crashed into the top left corner of the net.
“I just saw the ball rolling to me and I turned, with one touch, and hit it,” said Lunduski.
Stunned by that goal, Liverpool never got close to a scoring opportunity in the remaining minutes, B’ville securing a chance at yet another sectional title against a tough F-M side that split two regular-season meetings with the Bees.
“F-M is going to be a great challenge,” said Scheemaker.