PLATTSBURGH - The Lake Placid boys soccer team earned a spot in the championship game, but the top-seeded Blue Bombers girls did not.
On Friday, Oct. 26 under the lights at Plattsburgh High School, the boys topped AuSable Valley 1-0 in the Section VII, Class C boys semifinal round to advance to the championship match, which was scheduled to be played Thursday, Nov. 1 on the same field.
The Blue Bombers' boys victory followed a shocker, as the Lake Placid girls were upset 1-0 by Northern Adirondack, a team the Blue Bombers defeated twice during the regular season.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Blue Bombers sweeper Ryan Meyer controls the ball during his team’s 1-0 Section VII, Class C semfinal victory over AuSable Valley in Plattsburgh on Friday, Oct. 26.
Senior Haile Thompson scored the game-winner for Lake Placid, sending home a feed from his younger brother Nzoni during the middle stages of the first half. The Blue Bombers boys were also the Class C top seed, and withstood quite a challenge. The fourth-seeded Patriots competed against the larger Class B schools during the regular season and held a 10-5 advantage in shots against Lake Placid, missing a number of solid scoring chances.
"Boy, what an emotional game," Lake Placid coach Stuart Hemsley said. "This is do-or-die soccer. I've got 13 seniors on this team, and not only are they playing in what could be their last game, they are going for a championship."
The Blue Bombers netted their goal 25:33 into the match when the Thompsons cashed in on a ball mishandled by Patriots' goalkeeper Joshua Taylor. On the play, Nzoni beat Taylor to a ball that was sent in close on the left side of the net. Nzoni gained control of the ball, and instead of trying to get around Taylor for an attempt on net, he sent an on-the-money pass in to Haile, who one-timed a shot into the open goal from the middle of the penalty area.
Lake Placid then held on as AuSable applied loads of pressure the rest of the way in the first half and also generated some chances in the second half. With just about a minute remaining before intermission, Blue Bombers goalkeeper Chris Kordziel made the save of the match when he jumped and just deflected a high shot over the crossbar. Credited for a solid performance in net by Hemsley, Kordziel made seven stops to earn the shutout win. Taylor recorded three saves in a losing effort for the Patriots.
Hemsley also said Ryan Meyer had an outstanding game at sweeper for the Blue Bombers, who are expected to see five players return to the lineup for Thursday's title tilt.
Lake Placid improved to 10-5 overall while AuSable Valley ended its season with a 2-13 mark, most of those setbacks coming to the top programs in Section VII.
"Lake Placid played well," AuSable Valley coach Bob Hamilton said. "They were very aggressive and managed the ball very well. We lost the game with a silly goal. Our guy misplayed the ball and Lake Placid jumped on the opportunity. Our kids played hard, we just couldn't cash in on our chances."
After slipping past the Patriots, the Blue Bombers will face Seton Catholic, which beat Northern Adirondack 3-0 in Friday's late game. Lake Placid swept the Bobcats in two games during the regular season.
"One more game and we will be where we want to be," Hemsley said. "We beat both teams twice, but those wins don't count for nothing now. What counts is next week."