ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) — When the Columbia and Averill Park boys soccer teams met in the regular season, no winner was decided; they played to a 0-0 tie. But when the two sides squared off again Tuesday night to decide the Section II, Class A champion, one squad would emerge victorious, and that was top-seeded Columbia.
The Blue Devils tallied a 2-0 victory behind a stout defensive effort, and goals from senior forward Brady Bell, and freshman midfielder Cody Hamilton.
Both back lines dominated the majority of the first half; no one managed to find the back of the net in the first 30 minutes of action. Warriors senior goalkeeper Brady Mazzeo anchored his team’s defensive effort with a number of saves, including a sliding stop in the 25th minute to thwart a scoring opportunity for Hamilton.
The Blue Devils finally cracked the scoreboard with eight minutes to play in the opening half. A-P’s Liam Fitch tried clearing a ball out of the box, but it traveled right to Bell, who capitalized on a wide-open look to put Columbia up 1-0.
In the 57th minute, Hamilton padded the Blue Devils’ lead, ripping a shot through two Warriors; the ball ricocheted off the left post, and rolled across the goal line, increasing Columbia’s lead to two goals.
That was all the advantage the Blue Devils would need; they shut out A-P for the remaining 23 minutes, en route to the 2-0 victory.
After the game, Bell recalled his thought process on his game-winning goal.
“I knew as soon as that ball came to me, and I took that first touch, that I was hittin’ it, and it was gonna go in,” said Bell. “It just felt really great. That feeling after you score a goal…it just gives you an extra boost, and I think that’s what helped us win the game today.”
A section title for this particular class of Blue Devils has been a long time coming, according to head coach Bryan Lussier. But he knows the season didn’t end Tuesday night.
“I just can’t describe how proud I am of these guys,” said Lussier. “This group of players, and their families bought in years ago. Fully committed to the game of soccer, and we set lofty goals to begin the season, and this was definitely one of them. We’re not done yet. We’re gonna get back at it Saturday, and keep going towards one more of our goals that we set for this season.”
Columbia advances to regionals and will hit the pitch again Saturday. The Blue Devils’ opponent has yet to be announced.