POTSDAM - The Massena Central boys and girls soccer teams both split the NAC Central Division matchups against Franklin Academy during the regular season.
But on Tuesday night at the Potsdam Central turf field, it was the Huskies walking away with a breakthrough post-season sweep against the Raiders.
Ive been in the school district for 17 years and Im pretty sure this is the first time that both Malone teams have won game, said boys coach Kim Reul after her squad followed up a 2-1 win by the Lady Huskies with a 2-0 decision in the nightcap of the Section 10 Class A Championship double-header at the Potsdam Central turf field.
The newly crowned sectional champions will now gear up to host their Section 7 counterparts from Peru Central in the first round of the NYSPHSAA Class A tournament on Wednesday, November 9, at Potsdam Central with the girls game starting at 5 p.m. followed by the boys game at 7 p.m.
The teams traded chances through the first 20 minutes of the game before the Huskies struck for the only goal they would need when senior Alex Johnson lofted a direct kick off of netminder Cameron Marshs outstretched hands and into the top of the net from 40 yards out with 13:17 left in the first half. Neither team was able to generate another shot on goal the rest of the half.
We werent able to capitalize on a few of the chances that we had early in the game. Malone was able to get that first goal and that put us on heels a little bit, said Raider coach Pat Henrie after his squad closed out a rebuilding season with a 5-12 record.
Weve had trouble scoring goals all season and we had trouble finishing tonight, he added.
The Huskies controlled the majority of the second half and pushed their lead to 2-0 in the 11th minute when a lead pass from the center of the field to the right wing by Johnson triggered a breakaway goal by Kody Mulverhill.
The Raiders did manage the last good scoring opportunity of the game when junior Dalton Mullin and sophomore Jordan Robert quickly worked the ball down the left side of the field then across to junior Jason Hammill who was denied from close range by the best save of the night for Malone netminder Austin Lamay, who handled a total of five shots in backstopping the Huskies to a second straight Class A title.
We did not play very well in our last game against Massena and we spent the next three or four days really working hard and getting refocused, said Reul, who will be saying good-bye to 15 seniors following the end of this extended season. We made some adjustments, one of them being that Alex Johnson take all the direct kicks and that was advantageous for us tonight.
We also got a great game from our fullbacks. They really didnt give up a whole lot, she added. We have a lot of seniors and it meant a lot to them to win last year. I could tell before we started tonight that the kids really wanted it again tonight and it showed in the way we played.
The Lady Huskies scored a pair of goals in the first half of their Class A championship game, then held off a second-half comeback attempt by the Lady Raiders.
Sophomore Gabrielle Collins recorded both goals for the Huskies with assists from Hannah Perry and Katlynn Allen. The first tally was six minutes, 26 seconds in, as Hannah Perry broke loose on the left wing and slipped a nice crossing pass over to a streaking Collins, who had little trouble redirecting the ball past Massena goalie Bailie Young. Collins second score came on a break-out pass from Allen, with Collins taking a left-footed shot that went just inside the near post and through Youngs hands for the eventual game winner. FA maintained the two-goal cushion for the remainder of the first half with keeper Jayme Lavoie turning aside all four Massena shots on goal to help keep the lead intact. Massena responded early in the second half, starting the final 40 minutes the way it began the opening of the game – keeping Malone back on its heels. A misplayed ball by one of the Malone defenders forced Lavoie to venture far out of the crease. As she went down to play the roller, Serena Hall beat Lavoie to the sphere and touched it past the diving goalie. The ball rolled into the far corner of the goal, with several FA players in hot persuit, but the girls failed to catch up to it. Massena continued to apply pressure for most of the second half, with Malone getting its own opportunities as well. But the defense and goaltending of both teams was up to the challenge with time running out on the Red Raiders season. In posting the win between the pipes, Lavoie finished with nine saves while Young concluded her season with eight stops in the title contest.
We didnt get off to a very good start and thats something you cant afford to do this time of year, said coach Ryan Hayes after the Lady Raiders finished their season at 10-7. Our girls battled back and worked hard right to the end.
Im very proud of this team, he added. We lost our first four games and I wasnt sure which way things were going to go but the girls stayed positive and turned the season around.
CLASS B BOYS OPENER
The opening game of the Section 10 Class B playoffs produced an upset as Gouverneur Central outlasted host Salmon River 1-0 for its first win of the season.
I couldnt ask my kids to do any more than they did. They gave it their all but we just didnt finish, noted Shamrocks coach Ben Barkley after his squad closed out the season at 5-11-1.
You have to give Gouverneur credit. They played with a lot of heart and picked a great time for their first win, he added.
The Wildcats generated the only goal of the game when Jase Briggs finished off a play set up by Curt LaPlante with 2:38 left in the first half.
Tom Andrews was outstanding between the pipes for Gouverneur, turning aside all 18 of the shots he faced in posting the shutout.
Zach Smith recorded one save in the losing effort.
Gouverneur will now get set to take on top-seeded OFA at the Kennedy School field in Ogdensburg on Friday starting at 3 p.m. Potsdam plays at Canton in the other semi-final matchup. The Class B final is slated for Monday at the SUNY Canton turf field starting at 6:45 p.m.
Note: Malone Telegram Sports Editor John Gokey contributed to this article.