Let the critics say what they want.
The Mohonasen boys’ soccer team believes it belongs in today’s state Class A semifinal — eight losses and all.
“I think our record is going to be a benefit for us. Teams see eight losses, and they don’t think we’re that good,” said Joshua Gregg, whose arrival as head coach of the 15-8-1 Mighty Warriors is a story in itself. “We’re 10-1 against Class A teams.”
The group of players representing the Rotterdam school that will play Long Island champ Comsewogue this afternoon at 1:30 at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta is more than a generation removed from the program’s previous sectional championship.
“It’s incredible to still be playing, and to be part of the team that’s had the best season in school history,” said senior Steve Coughlin, who has three goals in the program’s longest postseason stay since 1970.
“I think we’re in the best league in the state,” said Trey Jasenski, whose scoring and playmaking are a big reason for the team’s success, first in the Suburban Council and through the postseason. “I don’t think there’s going to be better teams than Shenendehowa, Guilderland or Bethlehem. We see great competition all the time in the league.”
Jasenski’s point is as accurate as his shooting and passing.
Mohonasen dropped two divisional games to eventual Class AA champ Guilderland, and another two to Bethlehem, which reached the “AA” quarterfinals. Class AA runner-up Shenendehowa, reigning Class A champ Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Class AA semifinalist Colonie also beat the Warriors during the league season.
But Mohonasen is the area’s lone representative this weekend, as the other four Section II champs were knocked off in regional play.
“There’s no break [in the Suburban Council]. It really does prepare you,” said Gregg, who stepped in for older brother Cory, who is serving overseas in the military.
The competititon was good preparation for a tough postseason that included sectional wins over Burnt Hills, Foothills Council champ Scotia-Glenville, Foothills runner-up Gloversville, and finally, a 4-0 success against top-seeded and town rival Schalmont.
“At the beginning of the season, our expectations were high. But we couldn’t even dream of the level we’ve gotten to,” said Coughlin.
Mohonasen beat Section III champ Fulton, 3-1, on the road in the regional semis, then got past Section X champ Massena, 1-0, a week ago. In the latter game,
Mohonasen scored early, and dominated play.
Mohonasen knows little about 19-2-0 Comsewogue, which beat Section VIII champ Jericho to advance.
“We know they’re going to be a good team. Long Island always has solid teams,” said Gregg. “There’s a lot of talent down there. It’s a matter of if we play our game or not.”
Sean Dougherty scored the game-winning goal in Comsewogue’s last two postseason games. The 19-2 Warriors, who lost their first two games of the season, knocked off Hauppauge, 2-1, in the Section XI title game.
In addition to Dougherty, the Mighty Warriors will have to keep Keith Vigorito (20 goals) and Josh Butzke (11 goals, 13 assists) in check.
“The first 10 minutes are important, because we don’t know the teams at this stage of the season,” said central defender A.J. Prezkop, who has joined Lucas Flood, Matt Ploetz, Gabe Prusko and goalie Josh Gray in a defense that has given up only two goals in six postseason games. “We’ve only let in two goals, and we’re not worried about scoring. We want to keep the ball out of the net.”
Ploetz concurred, noting that the opening 10 minutes can make a big difference in the remaining 70.
“The first 10 minutes are important. You have to find out the other team’s style, and how you’re going to play against them,” he said.
While Jasenski will draw the attention of the Warriors, Gregg is confident that others in the lineup will continue to come through.
“Everyone knows Trey, he’s had an incredible year,” Gregg said. “Steve Coughlin has been scoring in sectionals and regionals. Felix [midfiedder Felix Bransch] has, too. Everyone stepped up at the right time.”
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Categories: High School Sports