HERKIMER, NY- It was a battle of the Spartans on Saturday, November 5th as New Hartford defeated Queensbury in the NYSPHSAA Regional Boys Soccer final, held at Herkimer County Community College. The New Hartford Spartans now hold a record of 14-4-1 while the Queensbury Spartans were sent home, ending their season with a record of 16-4-1.
As the starting whistle blew, the nerves of the players were evident as both teams had difficulty keeping possession. The speed of New Hartford’s offense, led by Seniors Sean McGlynn and Randolph Butler, created multiple chances throughout the first few minutes of the game. However, it wasn’t until the eighteenth minute when New Hartford was finally able to put a goal on the board.
After a mid-air collision between New Hartford Senior Lucas King and Queensbury keeper Thomas Socolof, a penalty kick was awarded to New Hartford. Socolof was sent off the field with a yellow card and Junior Nick Lemire stepped up to take the kick. Lemire made the most of the opportunity as he sailed the ball into the back of the net, creating a 1-0 lead for New Hartford.
“I was a little worried when I took the P.K., but seeing it go in was an ice breaker.” Lemire stated. “Since we had a goal, we had something to defend and it put us ahead.”
New Hartford was able to use their momentum to strike again nearly ten minutes later as McGlynn sent a diagonal ball on the foot of Senior, Alex Maring. Maring struck the ball past Socolof, adding another goal for the New Hartford Spartans.
Despite New Hartford’s 2-0 lead, Queensbury didn’t let this become a runaway game. After a foul on New Hartford, Sophomore Aidan Jordi-donnelly of Queensbury lofted a ball to his teammate Greg Maccharulo. Maccharulo found an opening in the net and scored his team’s first and only goal of the game. This goal caused New Hartford some discomfort, but Maring stated that it forced their team to regain focus.
“I think that after the second goal, we were on a high and we slacked off a little bit. We let them get back in the game with that one goal. At half, we really started to pick it back up and we took the game back over” Maring stated.
The New Hartford Spartans were, in fact, able to hold Queensbury throughout the second half. Queensbury’s only dangerous opportunity occurred as Junior Luke Geczy snuck through the New Hartford defense, and headed straight for the goal. New Hartford keeper, Chris Ojuro came up with a huge save as he denied Geczy’s attack and enabled New Hartford to keep their lead.
Overall, it was the aggressive and tactical play by New Hartford that earned them the Regional title. New Hartford Head Coach, Jill Davies-Nelson, also credits their win to their game day mentality.
“This team has been really focused. It has always been about the game at hand, and we haven’t ever looked any further. Today is just the next step of the journey and we are very excited.”
New Hartford now moves on to play on Saturday, November 12th in the Semi-finals of the State tournament. They will play Grand Island at Faller Field in Middletown, NY.