Soccer: Sabres must find way to crack Riders' defense
Talk about a showdown at high noon.
Today’s Section II Class B boys’ soccer game between top-ranked and reigning state champ 19-0-0 Ichabod Crane and 17-2-0 Schalmont, set for noon at Colonie High School, has all the elements of a classic.
Both teams have high-powered offenses that are strikingly familiar, and scoring on either team has been next to impossible for opponents.
“It should be a great game,” said Schalmont coach Jason Beck, whose Sabres dropped a 1-0 decision to the Riders when the teams met in a Colonial Council game on Sept. 28. “Our style of play is very similar, we both have a number of players capable of scoring goals, and neither of us have given up many goals.”
“Good team, lot of seniors, lots of dangerous players,” was central midfielder Gino Rossi’s quick take on the Riders, who have not permitted a goal in 14 games, and take 17 shutouts into today’s game.
“They’ve got a lot of experience,” said Schalmont senior Joe Wignot, who will play a key role from his center back spot. “We’ve played them every year [in league play], so we know how good they are.”
“They’re not afraid to hit one from 40 yards out, so you have to be ready every minute,” said Ross of a Rider attack that is spearheaded by Seth Scarano (31 goals, 24 assists, over 100 career goals), Heriberto Gomez (20 goals) and Alex Niemann (14 goals).
“Seth and Heriberto are dangerous, but the player I really like on their team is Alex Niemann,” said Beck. “He’s very important in what they do.”
Rossi (24 goals, 18 assists) leads Schalmont, which lost leading goal scorer — freshman Cameron LaVallee — to a knee injury in its playoff opener, a 10-0 victory over Fonda-Fultonville.
“Other players have picked it up,” said Beck, who could start three freshmen. “I tell them at the beginning of the year that the 11 players that are playing the best are the ones that will be in the lineup. That keeps them sharp.”
The Schalmont girls are also playing in a game today that matches up two teams with great recent succcess, getting two-time state Class C champ Hoosick Falls in the Class BB/B playoff at 2:30 at Lansingburgh High School.
The Lady Sabres are 19-0-0 off a dominating 4-1 win over Catholic Central in Thursday’s “BB” final. Schalmont won the state Class B title in 2011, and lost in the state semis last season. This year’s team, under first-year head coach Alaina Lange, could be even better than those two clubs, as it only has one senior field player on the roster, central midfielder Madeline Saccocio.
“They got this far, and they
deserve to be here as much as we do,” said Lange of the 17-2-0 Panthers, who won the “B” title with a 3-0 win over Greenville. “Them winning states the last two years, and us getting to states the last two years, we both know what those games are like, how big the games are. It’s going to be who can play the whole 80 minutes.”
Both teams have strong two-way midfields. Saccocio leads Schalmont with 20 goals, and teams with sophomore Julia Rossi and junior Hailee Metzold to control play, allowing speedy Rachel Cardinal and Bianca Mascitelli (17 goals) to join eighth-grader Molly Older (20 goals) in attack.
Senior Mackenzie Hinchclffe (22 goals, 32 assists) and junior Rachel Pine are keys for the Lady Panthers. Sophomore Jordyn Haynes already holds the school record for career goals for Hoosick Falls.