GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. And both the Ichabod Crane and Glens Falls boys soccer teams shook off slow first halves to record shutout victories in the semi-final round of the Class A playoff tournament at Gloversville High School Thursday night, setting up a top-10 battle for the section title.
Glens Falls, the two-seed in the bracket, ranked fourth in the state in Class A, fought past a pesky, sixth-seeded Mohonasen team that entered the night with some serious momentum after a quarterfinal upset of third-seeded Albany Academy.
It took nearly 53 minutes for the Black Bears to get on the scoreboard, but they finally did when junior forward Landon Becker struck off an assist from Liam Burgess. They’d get some free insurance later in the half when the Warriors knocked the ball into their own goal off an attempted cross from Burgess, who was credited with the goal.
Glens Falls senior keeper Ayden Grieve kept Mohon off the board the rest of the way to secure a 2-0 victory – the Black Bears’ 11th shoutout on the season and fourth in a row. They’ve allowed just nine goals all season.
“When we came out in the second half, we were so much stronger than the first half,” said Becker. “We switched our gameplan on how we wanted to play, and we came out a lot stronger. We started finishing the ball and winning our 50/50’s. It was just a lot better in the second half.”
“They just played the type of soccer that we’ve played all year instead of feeling the pressure of a semifinal, and trying to make things happen when they weren’t happening,” said Glens Falls head coach Mike Shaver in regards to his team’s second-half turnaround. “I said to them, “Trust our system.” It’s worked all year.” So, I think that was really the big difference for us.”
Speaking of halftime adjustments, whatever Ichabod Crane head coach Len Bates said to his team at the midway mark of their match with fifth-seeded Burnt Hills certainly did the trick. The top-seeded Riders, occupying the nine-spot in the most recent New York State Class A rankings, also rebounded from a scoreless first half by finding the back of the net three times in the final 40 minutes of their shutout win over the Spartans.
With just over two minutes expired in the second half, Ichabod’s Brian Bravo unloaded on a free kick that was initially denied by Burnt Hills keeper Adam Yerina, but the ball leaked out to a charging Jacob Macfarlane, who buried the second-chance opportunity to put the Riders on top 1-0.
Bravo would have another scoring opportunity in the 74th minute, and this time, he delivered a near-untouchable, long-range strike to the top right corner of the cage, extending Ichabod’s advantage to two goals.
Brandon DaCosta put the final stamp on the victory, converting on a penalty kick in the final minutes of the half.
Ichabod Crane (16-0-1) and Glens Falls (16-1) face off for the Class A crown Saturday at Queensbury High School. Kickoff is set for 11:00 a.m.