Sauquoit – The boys soccer teams from Cooperstown and Mount Markham have staged many great battles through the years, including some great playoff contests featuring great strikers. Wednesday night’s Class C semifinal ranked right up there with the best of them, but it was a defender who had the biggest play of the night.
Jonathan Coons scored with 3:55 to play in the first half to give Coach Charlie Engle’s Mustangs a lead and it sparked a 2-0 win against Cooperstown in the October 26 match.
The Mustangs had the better of play for most of the first half but did not have a great chance to score early. Coach Frank Miosek’s Hawkeyes had the first great chance and it came in the 10th minute. Pierce Snyder’s corner kick was placed well, but MM goalie Brad Litz punched it a way.
The third-seeded Hawkeyes had their first shot on goal in the 23rd minute, but Litz easily saved it and with a steady defense in front of him did not have to face another before the horn. Cooperstown goalie Kyle Amsden did, however, and he was up to the task until Coons scored. First he stopped a shot by David Duh in the 24th minute then Ivan Delia hit a 30-yard shot that Amsden slapped away. Boris Ixlaj had the next great chance for MM in the 30th minute. It came on a tough angle from 25 yards and forced Amsden to make a superb save.
Ixlaj and his brother Uber Ixlaj helped MM keep possession for the next few minutes then Uber started the play that led to the first goal of the match. He wove through defenders then passed to Duh who passed it across the field to Ethan Maine. The eighth grader sent the ball to Coons who was just outside the box. The senior missed badly on his first shot of the match but not this one. He threaded it perfectly between defenders and Amsden had little chance on the play.
MM finished the half with a 5-1 edge in shots on goal.
The Mustangs enjoyed the same edge in possession to begin the second half. Boris Ixlas had two chances early on but Amsden saved both then Uber missed high with a great chance in the 48th minute. Coons bailed out the team after a misplay on defense. He cleared a misplayed ball in the 59th minute. The defense teamed to clear another good chance by the Hawkeyes in the 66th minute to keep it 1-0 then Coons set up Brady Wheelock for the insurance goal in the 72nd minute, It came from 35 yards out and Amsden was able to deflect it slightly, but not enough.
The second-seeded Mustangs kept the pressure up to the end on the third-seeded Hawkeyes and earned Engle another shot at a sectional title. Engle began the program in 1969.
Cooperstown: Saves – Kyle Amsden 9.
Mount Markham (16-2): Jonathan Coons 1-1, Ethan Maine 0-1, Brady Wheelock 0-1. Saves – Brad Litz 3.