TROY, NY (NEWS10) — 21 times a team has tried to trip up Mechanicville boys soccer this year, and every attempt has failed. The Raiders not only improved their perfect record to 19-0-2 Wednesday night with a 3-0 win over Section X foe Salmon River, they also advanced to regionals for the first time in program history.
Mechanicville, ranked second in the state in Class B, was pitted against a talented Shamrocks squad in its’ sub-regional matchup. But the Raiders had no problem with the 14th-ranked team in the state, dominating both offensively and defensively in their shutout victory.
Senior captain Luke Micklas got the scoring started for Mechanicville just over five minutes into the match when he drilled a shot from over 30 yards out; the Raiders would take that 1-0 advantage into halftime.
With seven minutes expired in the second half, Mechanicville sophomore Mark Pingelski added to lead, knocking in a header off a corner kick from sophomore Logan Starks.
Raiders junior Joe Devito delivered the knockout punch in the 78th minute; he found the back of the net courtesy of an assist from senior Colin McNutt.
Execution of the game plan was the primary reason the Raiders emerged victorious, according to head coach Mike Ciulla.
“You know, we game planned for a couple days, and this is what we saw in them,” said Ciulla. “We got a lot of subs in – a lot of fresh legs – we knew if we kept running them into the ground…the ball’s would start to fall for us. We said after Saturday, “Listen…we got four more to go. You want to be playing your last game when you know it’s your last game of the season. Four more to go.” That’s check one. Now check two hopefully Saturday.”
Pingelski said his team is playing for a lot more than just the allure of a state championship.
“We’re the first team in (program) history to win sectionals, and make it here,” said Pingelski. “The whole time we said we’re not playing for us; we were playing for our community, ’cause they back us up every game. So, I think that’s our motivation going into it.”
Mechanicville now prepares for a regional clash with Plattsburgh Saturday. The Hornets hail from Section VII, and sit eighth in this week’s state rankings. Kickoff time Saturday is currently undecided, but the game will be played at La Salle Institute.