It was worth the wait.
Guilderland, in its first final since winning the Class A championship in 1997, got a goal from Kip Stillman with 3:12 left in regulation Tueday night to beat Shenendehowa, 3-2, in the Section II Class AA boys’ soccer championship game at Colonie High School.
The meeting in the finals was the first in 11 years between the teams with the most large-school Section II banners. The programs met in the large-school final 10 times
between 1982 and 1997. The winner went on to win a state title from 1988-1993.
“This is everything I wanted as a senior,” said Guilderland central midfielder Ryan Ashbaugh, whose play was one of the keys for the
22-0-0 Dutchmen, who won their first Section II title under coach Mike Kinnally.
Stillman’s goal, from the right flank, capped a frantic second half that saw the teams combine for three goals in a span of 5:39, as Shenendehowa overcame a two-goal deficit.
“I tell everyone we have two teams — we have our soccer team, and we have our athletic team,” said Kinnally, whose Guilderland program has increased its win
total in each of his six years with the team.
He needed both groups Tuesday night as a seemingly safe two-goal lead evaporated in 108 seconds.
”I don’t even remember who I got the pass from. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even looking at the goal. I just let it rip,” said Stillman, whose athleticism is also evident in the spring on the Dutchmen
Guilderland goes on to this weekend’s regional finals, on the road against Section III champion Baldwinsvillle. The time and site are still to be determined.
Guilderland controlled the first half of Tuesday’s game, earning a 1-0 lead when Sahr Nyuma was played into space between two Shenendehowa defenders by Caleb Ciaschetti, and finished the chance by rolling a shot past
advancing Shenendehowa goalie John Mabee.
When Tony Campagnano sliced home a shot from an improbable angle along the end line 4:11 into the second half, Guilderland looked to be firmly in control.
But the Plainsmen stunned the Dutchmen with goals by Luke Popolizio and Chris Curley less than two minutes apart.
“I think we might have gotten too comfortable,” said Stillman.”
“We got up early, and then we kind of sat back a little bit,” agreed Campagnano.
“Once you give up that goal,
2-1, the momentum shifts. We were concerned,” said Kinnally. “I was just happy we didn’t have to go overtime again.”
““It happened, you can’t do anything about it. You’ve got to pick it back up, and keep going,” said Rory Nunamacher, another standout lacrosse player and Ashbaugh’s partner in the middle of the field, of the change of momentum. “You might as well. It might be your last game.”
Looking to change the game’s flow, Shenendehowa coach Mike Campisi moved Popolizio to
neutralize Campagnano, and also put David Clemens into a support position behind Joey Miner.
“That seemed to pick us up a bit,” Campisi said. “Greg Yund did a great job on the right, and he was getting in. Chris [Curley] got in a couple of times on the left. That seemed to help the offense a little bit.”
But the spark was doused when Stillman ripped home his game-winner.
“At the end, we had to go out wide. We’re really fast out wide, and really skilled out wide,” Kinnally said. “We knew that staying wide would help us in the end.”
Regional play opens tonight for Class A champ Mohonasen, when the Mighty Warriors meet Section III winner Fulton at 7 p.m. at Chittenango High School in the Syracuse area.
The 13-8-1 Mighty Warriors outscored four opponents, 13-1, in sectionals, capped by a 4-0 win over top-seeded Schalmont in the Section II championship game.
A win would put Mohonasen into the state quarterfinals for the first time in the history of the program.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Cortland of Section III played to a scoreless draw for 120 minutes before Cortland edged the Spartans, 4-3, in penalty kicks in a Class A regional semifinal .
Nicole Collins, Sarah Glowa and Georgina Farrow converted their penalty kicks for the Spartans, winners of four straight Section II titles.
Carrie Marks scored the game-winning penalty kick for Cortland.
Goalkeeper Teegan Kelly made seven saves for the 14-6-2 Spartans.
“It was a tough way to lose,” said BH-BL coach Brian Bold. “But we were in the same position last year, and we won in penalty kicks, so I understand the way it goes.
“We played 120 minutes of good soccer, but now, we’re going home.”
Ashley Wilson scored three goals — including the winner in the second overtime — as Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk overcame a 3-0 halftime deficit and beat Section III champ Westhill, 4-3, at Chittenango.
The Indians move on to play in Saturday’s regional final, on the road against either Section VII champ Plattsburgh or Potsdam of Section X.
Unbeaten Bethlehem meets Niskayuna this evening at Broadalbin-Perth in the Section II Class AA championship game.
Niskayuna has ended Bethlehem’s season the past two years — in the semis last year, and in
the finals (by penalty kicks) in 2006.
Stillwater plays Maple Hill for the Class C berth in the state tourney, that game starting at 4 p.m. at Broadalbin-Perth.
Stillwater beat defending champ Hoosick Falls in the Class CC final. The Wildcats downed Middleburgh to win the Class C championship.
The winner goes on to Saturday’s regional final, which will be played in the Capital Region.
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Categories: High School Sports