Nov 01, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In wildly different ways, the Hamilton and Morrisville-Eaton boys soccer teams got to the quarterfinal round of their respective Section III playoff rounds — but only one managed to go further.
Hamilton, the defending state Class D champions, began its formal defense last Wednesday night with a solid 4-1 victory over LaFargeville, then went on to fight past Alexandria Bay 2-0 in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, M-E, placed in the Class C tournament, needed overtime to squeeze past Thousand Islands 2-1 in the first round, but got ousted Saturday by Bishop Ludden 5-0 in the quarterfinals.
Hamilton had fallen to a no. 4 seed in Class D because it had not scored in either of its last two regular-season games (losses to Mount Markham and Fabius-Pompey). Thus, it was all too eager to get the offense going against LaFargeville, the no. 13 seed.
In fact, it took seven minutes for the Emerald Knights to go in front 1-0 as Sam Owens, off Drew Thompson’s feed from the right side, converted the go-ahead goal. Just two minutes later, Owens crossed — and it was Blaine Holcomb scoring to make it 2-0.
Despite Hamilton’s complete control and lots of other chances, it remained a two-goal margin until Dan Kraynak cranked up a 23-yard shot and struck it just inside the left post in the 66th minute. Later, Kraynak’s long and accurate pass set up Jake Smith for the final goal.
Amid a lot of wind and rain on Saturday, Hamilton would find it more difficult to generate a consistent attack against Alexandria Bay, a no. 12 seed seeking a second straight upset after knocking off no. 5 seed Old Forge in the first round.
Thus, Kraynak was glad to take over again. Twice in the first half, he broke through and put shots into the net, giving Hamilton an early cushion as Thompson got one assist.
From there, the Emerald Knights used possession time to make the Purple Ghosts disappear as it advanced to another Class D semifinal against Copenhagen or Belleville-Henderson.
Meanwhile, M-E was the no. 10 seed in Class C, heading far up into the north country, to Clayton, to meet Thousand Islands, the no. 7 seed, on a field saturated by a day-long rain.
Tyler Banker’s early goal pushed the Warriors in front, 1-0, and that lead nearly held up throughout regulation, even though the Vikings got most of the scoring chances. Matt Pelton was superb in the net, finishing with 21 saves.
But Thousand Islands tied it up, 1-1, when Taylor Price-Kellogg pushed a shot past Pelton with four minutes left, and with all the pressure it was putting on M-E’s net, the hosts had to be favored going into sudden-death overtime.
Somehow, M-E held on, and six minutes into the extra period, Ryan Gabriec flashed open — and pushed a shot past Vikings goalie Ben Lauraine to win it.
This led the Warriors into Saturday’s Class C quarterfinal against no. 2 seed Bishop Ludden, who had a first-round bye. Rested, and on its home field, the Gaelic Knights ended M-E’s title dreams with a 5-0 defeat.
Mostly, it was Ludden forward Matt Weeks that proved to be the difference. All Weeks did was put together a three-goal hat trick, plus an assist, to negate Pelton’s nine saves. Sean Byrne and Tyler Young had the Gaelic Knights’ other goals as M-E finished with a record of 8-9.