MIDDLETOWN, NY (NEWS10) — For the second straight season, the Maple Hill boys soccer team’s quest for a state title fell one game short. The Wildcats dropped Sunday’s state championship match with Section I winner Haldane; 1-0 was the final.
To say the game was “back-and-forth” would not be a cliché. For about the first 65 minutes of game time, both sides struggled to get any clean looks, or shots on goal. But the action ramped up in the late stages of the second half.
With just over five minutes remaining in the contest, Haldane’s Ryan Eng-Wong was set up with a free kick following a Maple Hill yellow card. Off the kick, Blue Devils freshman Samuel Vargas popped the ball straight in the air, and Wildcats goalkeeper Luke Hoffman skied to secure it, keeping the game tied at 0-0.
Seconds later Eng-Wong delivered a pass to Brandt Robbins in Maple Hill’s box, and Robbins heel kicked in what appeared to be the go-ahead goal, but the officials signaled an offsides; the goal was rescinded, and the match stayed scoreless.
But with just over a minute to play in regulation, the Blue Devils threatened again. Clement Grossman lofted a pass to Eng-Wong, who played the ball off his shoulder, maneuvered around Maple Hill’s Brody Rogers, and chipped a shot past Hoffman; that would prove to be the game-winning goal.
The Wildcats could not score in the final 60 seconds of play, and their state title hopes were dashed with the 1-0 defeat.
They finish another remarkable campaign with a 20-2-1 record, and were 10-1 in league play.