Saratoga Springs boys aiming for first postseason title

There was little to separate the Shenendehowa and Saratoga Springs boys’ soccer teams during their t
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There was little to separate the Shenendehowa and Saratoga Springs boys’ soccer teams during their two Suburban Council matches this fall.

The Plainsmen rallied for a 1-1 draw Sept. 29 at Saratoga, then closed the regular season with a 1-0 overtime win over the Blue Streaks.

As the last two teams standing, the Plainsmen and Blue Streaks will play today at 5 p.m. at Colonie High School with the Section II Class AA title on the line.

“Saratoga will be tough. They match up well, they play us well,” said Shenendehowa coach Mike Campisi.

Shenendehowa is the most successful large-school program in Section II, with the Plainsmen shooting for Campisi’s 16th sectional title, but their first since 2005.

The Blue Streaks are chasing their first postseason championship, and they’d like to make history tonight with a senior-laden lineup.

“I’ve never been this far. It feels so good,” said center midfielder Noah Cadet. “To get to the finals is amazing.”

Classmate Caz Rafalik, a central midfielder, echoed that sent­iment.

“This is so big, getting to the finals,” he said.

The key for the Blue Streaks will be stopping Shenendehowa senior striker David Clemens, who scored all of his team’s goals in a 3-0 semifinal win over Guilderland.

Junior Will Johns might get that assignment. He did such a good job in the teams’ first meeting that Clemens sat out most of the game after committing a foul that also cost him a yellow card. Johns also marked Bethlehem’s Danny Carillo in the Blue Streaks’ 2-1 semifinal win.

Clemens, who plays with several of the Blue Streaks during the offseason, knows his team is in for a battle.

“We know what we’re in for. I play with a lot of those kids in the offseason, so it’s going to be a familiar game,” he said. ”They have a very good team, strong defensively and offensively. It definitely will not be an easy game.”

The Virginia Tech-bound Clemens would like to win a sectional title as he wraps up his high school career. Shenendehowa lost to Guilderland in last year’s final, and fell in the semifinals the prev­ious year.

“I’ve come so close every time,” he said. “[We lost] in the last minute in my sophomore year, and in overtime last year. It would be great to win my senior year.

Cadet and his classmates have the same goal.

“The first year I played varsity, we got knocked out in the first round; the second year we made it to the second round,” said Cadet, who plans to attend Williams College next fall.

In his first year, Saratoga head coach Jeff Geller has taken his team to a 13-5-1 record. The previous results with 16-1-1 Shenendehowa give Geller confidence heading into the final.

“We had good results against them this season,” he said.

Campisi is aware of Saratoga’s strengths.

“They’ve got Noah Cadet and Will Johns, and the Rafalik kid in the back, a good goalkeeper [junior Aaron Costello],” said Campisi. “They’re solid up the middle.”

GIRLS’ REGIONALS SET

Two of Section II’s girls’ champions open regional play today at Stillwater High School.

Mechanicville meets Section III champ Immaculate Heart of Watertown in a Class B game at 4:30. Five-time Class A champ Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake gets 17-2-0 Jamesville-DeWitt at 6:30. The winners advance to Saturday’s state quarterfinals. The Red Raiders and Spartans would play in Section II.

Burnt Hills again used the tough Suburban Council season as a springboard to postseason success. The Spartans went 9-4-3 in league play, then posted three shutouts in sectional play, including 1-0 wins over Scotia-Glenville in the semis and second-seeded South Glens Falls in last Friday’s title game.

Mechanicville fought to a scoreless draw with fourth-seeded Stillwater in the sectional final, advancing to the regional round through the penalty-kick tiebreakers.

The 14-2-2 Red Raiders are led by Abby Maiello, with 24 goals.

Alysa Russell and Mikayla Gowett also are in double figures in goals.

Categories: High School Sports

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