Red Raiders drop 4OT heartbreaker

Briarcliff got a big game from Katie Weiner and Liana Cornacchio. The two towered above most of the
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Briarcliff got a big game from Katie Weiner and Liana Cornacchio.

The two towered above most of the Mechanicville girls and led the Bears to a 4-3 win Saturday in four overtimes, earning the Class B state soccer championship at the State Unversity of New York at Cortland.

The Bears’ size was a problem for the Red Raiders all day.

“As you could hear us chanting, we have bad genetics,” Mechanicville sweeper Tori Bredenberg said. “They were definitely a big team, a very strong team. With all our small little guys, we did our best. We really worked hard. We did what we could.”

The game winner crossed the line with 2:27 left in the second five-minute sudden-death overtime period.

Briarcliff’s Danielle Christiano sent a cross from the left for the two bigs, but it pinballed between Weiner and Cornacchio before spitting out on the right side. Savina Reid collected it and sent it back in front of the goal, where Cornacchio headed it home for the win and was promptly mobbed by her teammates. She received the Most Outstanding Player award from the Briarcliff side.

Mechanicville coach Liz Villamil said she also thought the Red Raiders were a little tired from playing an overtime thriller Friday to get to the title game.

Mechanicville’s Abby Maiello, who netted two of the three Red Raider goals, echoed that thought after receiving the award for Most Outstanding Player from Mechanicville.

“We went into overtime yesterday and we went in today,” Maiello said. “We had a lot of minutes on us. We just tried our best.”

The Red Raiders were on their heels early as the Bears dominated possession. Exactly one minute into the contest, Briarcliff scored its first goal.

Katie Underwood’s corner kick found Cornacchio’s head, but the shot was saved. Weiner was on hand to poke the ball across the line for the early lead.

Just 6:43 into the game, Bredenberg evened the score on a direct kick from 15 yards out on the right side, sending a drive over the reach of Briarcliff goalie Kelly Wall.

Mechanicville took a 2-1 lead with 25:18 left in the game when Kayla Fascia’s corner kick found Gabby Bouyea at the top-right corner of the 18-yard box. She was able to settle it for Maiello, who turned and sent a lob over Wall for a Red Raider lead.

Still, the Bears controlled possession and made it hard for Mechanicville to move through the midfield in transition as the Red Raiders maintained a defensive posture.

“We were trying to clear it up and we were trying to keep a strong defense,” Maiello said. “Once we cleared it up, the forwards were just trying to sprint out.”

Briarcliff knotted the score at 2-2, 2:15 into the second half, when Reid finished off a rebound at the six-yard box. With 18:46 left in regul­ation, Cornacchio faked a cross from the right corner before dribbling in along the end line and firing a pass to the far side for Weiner, who gave the Bears the lead again.

With 14:50 left in the half, Maiello was in position at the six for a Bredenberg indirect kick. With Briarcliff’s Alyssandra Jaquith in her back, she jumped and flicked the ball on, with her back to the net, over Wall and into the goal.

Wall finished with four saves for the 22-1-0 Bears and Mechanicville’s Kelsey Desadore made six for the 17-3-2 Red Raiders.

Bredenberg is one of the six sen­iors who walked off the field for the final time as a Red Raider. She said the younger players on the team, including five sophomores and a freshman by the end of the run, all worked hard for the seniors this season.

“I just couldn’t believe it was over, being a senior,” Bredenberg said. “On the bright side, it was the best four years I could ask for. All the girls were absolutely amazing, my team is amazing. We had such heart and such drive. It was disappointing we couldn’t finish it, but it was the best four years I could ask for.”

Villamil said the experience gained by the young players will be valuable in future sectional games.

As the team accepted its runner-up plaque, tears subsided quickly and the girls were laughing and joking again. Villamil said they had no reason to hang their heads.

“They’ve done tremendous things, they’re the only team in the section to get this far and why should they put their heads down because they lost on a bobbled-around play with two and a half minutes left,” she said. “I think they should be proud of all their accomplishments. They don’t need tears. It’s unfortunate that we lost, but that’s the way the game goes sometimes. There’s nothing they should hang their heads about or not smile about.”

Categories: High School Sports

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