Boys’ Regional Soccer: Spartans stop Warriors, 2-1

Leaping, diving and standing his ground against point-blank shots, East Syracuse-Minoa goalie Casey

Leaping, diving and standing his ground against point-blank shots, East Syracuse-Minoa goalie Casey Sullivan was too much for Mohonasen.

After a slow start, the Mighty Warriors’ offense finally put the pressure on the Spartans in the final 15 minutes, but Sullivan was simply too tough, sparking ESM to a 2-1 victory in the Class A boys’ soccer regional Wednesday at Colonie High School.

Mohonasen couldn’t put the ball past Sullivan until the final nine minutes of the game, and that was on a penalty kick. After Lucas Caffarelli drew a foul just inside the box, senior midfielder Cameron McDermott ripped in a goal to draw the Mighty Warriors within a goal.

The momentum quickly shifted, and the Mighty Warirors kept the heat on.

With 5:26 remaining, junior forward Mike Korzun slipped behind the Spartans’ defense and chipped a shot toward Sullivan, who made a leaping save.

Fifty-two seconds later, McDermott’s header from just 10 yards away was bobbled by Sullivan, but finally put away, and with 27 seconds left, Andrew Reiss’ throw-in on Sullivan’s doorstep set up another excellent scoring chance, but Sullivan was once again there to make the save.

“Sullivan made some really nice saves today, just like he always does,” said ESM coach Mark Carr, whose 14-5-1 team advances to host the Section X representative on Saturday. It was Sullivan’s 12th shutout.

“We’ve allowed only 13 goals all year. Actually, scoring two goals is a lot for us. We’ve won in overtime in our last three sectional games,” said Carr. “Defense is really the key for us. We pulled some extra guys back on defense in the second half, but Mohonasen still got some excellent scoring chances.”

Mohonasen coach Cory Gregg, whose Mighty Warriors reached regional play in 2009 and made the state semifinals in 2008, said his team’s offense wasn’t as sharp as usual.

“At the end, those are balls we’ve been putting away most of the season,” he said. “I think we had at least four golden opportunities to score in the second half alone.”

But Gregg admitted that he was glad to see his team keep charging, even after falling behind, 2-0.

“The seniors on this team set the tone, and they’re the ones who kept pushing at the end,” he said. “Sure, we were frustrated being down, 2-0, in the second half, but we figured we still had a chance to get back in the game.

“We had our opportunities. They scored off a corner kick and a long shot that somehow got through. I believe we had more quality shots than they did, but sometimes, that’s the way it is in soccer.”

Senior defender Joe Avery, one of the players who competed on that state semifinal team, admitted the slow start may have cost the 11-10 Mighty Warriors.

“We didn’t play with urgency in the first half. We were too slow getting to the 50-50 balls. At the end, we stuffed the box with shots, but we couldn’t get a goal. Still, I’m proud of these guys. We never gave up,” Avery said.

The Spartans took a 1-0 lead with 10:38 left in the first half when Irfan Tihic scored his fourth goal of the season on a header off a corner kick.

ESM took a 2-0 lead when Senid Makic scored his sixth goal of the season on a 35-yard bullet from the far side that just eluded diving Mohonasen goalie Alec Volans with 29:22 left in regulation.

Categories: High School Sports

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