GUILDERLAND CENTER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In the 2022 boys soccer season, Saratoga Springs and Shaker played in an epic Class AA championship game, with Shaker pulling out a 4-3 overtime victory. The two sides have risen to the top of Class AAA in 2023, and will once again square off for a section title Monday night.
In Tuesday’s AAA semi-final round at Guilderland High School, two-seeded Shaker pulled out a 1-0 victory over rival and three-seed Shenendehowa. The top-seeded Blue Streaks followed suit with a 3-1 win over the four-seed in the bracket, Christian Brothers Academy.
After the Blue Bison and Plainsmen played a scoreless first 40 minutes of action, Shaker finally broke through on a corner kick from Nathanael Chung in the 46th minute. Chung put the ball on the back post, Patrick Flaherty headed the ball back across the box and Griffin Ryan finished it off for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
“I saw the ball go to the back post, and I saw Patrick head it back. I was just right there for a tap-in. So, you know, can’t get any easier for me,” said Ryan. “We worked all over the summer. Hard work pays off, and we’re starting to see that. But it’s not done yet.”
“Nine of the 11 guys we had last year start in the section final graduated, so we have so many guys stepping up,” said head coach Dan Fountain. “And to get back to the final – just a tremendous achievement for these guys. I’m so proud of all the work they’ve put in, and all the times they’ve rose up to the occasion. Just very proud of this team.”
The battle between the Blue Streaks and Brothers started very similarly to its predecessor; neither team managed to score through the first 34 minutes. But then Saratoga’s star senior Ryan Farr executed a give-and-go with Jacob Paro, and Farr delivered a top-shelf strike with his off-foot to put Saratoga up 1-0.
The Blue Streaks took that lead into the halftime break, and it took all of seven minutes and 33 seconds in the second half for Farr to create some breathing room when he converted on a penalty kick to push the margin to two.
No. 1 Saratoga Springs and No. 2 Shaker will meet in the Class AAA championship game Monday at Queensbury High School. Opening kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.