SCHUYLERVILLE - One shot. One incredibly well-placed shot.
That's what brought a painful end to the Lake Placid boys soccer team's season Wednesday, as Lake George scored on a corner kick in sudden-death overtime in a regional Class C state playoff match played at Schuylerville High School.
The Blue Bombers blanked one of the state's highest scoring teams for 80 minutes of regulation and then some, but all they could do is watch when sophomore Noah Prime sent a corner kick up high and into the far side of the net with 5:44 gone in overtime to lift Lake George to a 1-0 victory.
Lake Placid’s Chris Williams heads the ball while leaping above Zack Preuss of Lake George during Wedensday’s Class C regional game at Schyulerville High School. The Warriors scored in overtime to claim a 1-0 victory over the Blue Bombers.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
A steady wind was a factor in the back-and-forth game, and the Warriors had the added advantage of having it at their backs during the decisive overtime period. Taking the corner kick with his left foot, Prime ended up curling the shot over the penalty area and into the net to record his first varsity goal.
Except for that one shot, Lake Placid played admirable defense against Lake George, which improved to 19-1-1 and now is just one win away from reaching the state final four tournament.
Wednesday's setback marked the second time the Section VII champion Blue Bombers were knocked out of the state playoffs by a Section II powerhouse on a late goal. A year ago, Lake Placid fell to Hoosick Falls, also by a 1-0 score.
"It's a little more painful this time because we lost in overtime," Hemsley said. "Everyone says it's fun to be playing soccer in November, but I would have liked playing for one more week.
"We defended so well against a team with a 30-goal scorer," Hemsley added. "Tucker Angelopolous was the man of the match. I played professionally as a defender, and I would have been proud to defend like Tucker did tonight."
In a match that saw both teams put six shots on net, the Warriors did come up empty on some great scoring chances during regulation. Some of their players actually thought they netted a goal during a flurry in front of the Lake Placid net in the middle of the opening half, but Blue Bombers senior goalkeeper Chris Kordziel came up with the ball after diving to his left. Lake George also had a couple of near misses off two corner-kick plays early in the second half after again putting intense pressure on the Blue Bombers defense. Lake Placid put a shot just over the crossbar in the opening half and also put a couple shots on goal in the second that were saved by Lake George keeper Jeff Naftaly, who is a senior.
As the lone player lining up on the front line, Lake Placid junior Nzoni Thompson gave the Warriors fits through out the match. One shot Thompson won't forget any time soon was a blast he rattled off the crossbar with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, that ultimately, could have lifted his team to the victory. On the play, Thompson gained control of the ball while streaking down the right side of the field. Despite being defended by two players, he was able to get off a hard shot from the right outside corner of the penalty box, but the ball banged of the crossbar on the short side of the net and bounced away from danger.
"Lake Placid gave us everything we could have imagined," Lake George coach Blake White said. "They were really tough up front. That No. 8 (Thompson), he was so fast. We had four and five guys back defending and he still found some room.
"We were fortunate to have the wind with us in that first overtime," Blake added. "We didn't want to be in a situation of having to go into the wind if it went to a second overtime. This was a tough, physical game. It was back-and-forth, there were a lot of air balls, and both teams had some chances. It was exciting. It was a great game."
The Warriors, who headed into the match as New York's fourth-ranked C team, will play Section X champion Brushton-Moira Friday at SUNY Canton. Lake Placid entered the match ranked 11th in the state in Class C and finished the season with a 9-4-2 record.
After claiming the first boys soccer championship in school history a year ago, Lake Placid will have to look toward next season when Hemsley expects the team to be strong again. The Blue Bombers, however, will have to replace senior starters Kordziel, Andrew Meister, Casey Dinicola and Shane McNierney, who all played key roles on the team this fall.
"Those four guys will really be missed, and we have some other seniors who were also on the team that didn't get a lot of playing time but were still there working hard," Hemsley said. "They didn't get to the final four, but the seniors who were with us last year, they own two titles. They had a hand in making soccer history at Lake Placid."
Lake George 1, Lake Placid 0, OT
1. LG, Prime, 5:44.
Shots: Lake Placid 6, Lake George 6
Saves: LP, Kordziel 5; LG, Naftaly 5.