Saratoga Springs

Top-seeded Blue Streaks survive with OT win

Farr nets game-winning goal
Saratoga Springs topped LaSalle in overtime.
Saratoga Springs topped LaSalle in overtime.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — First, junior Evan Farr celebrated with his teammates, Then, he took off from the jubilant pack of Blue Streaks to celebrate with several members of the Saratoga Springs student cheering section rushing onto the field.

Moments before all that? A lot of nerves and stern faces, as the top-seeded Blue Streaks’ Section II Class AA boys’ soccer quarterfinal matchup with eighth-seeded LaSalle Institute went to overtime.

“Knowing that with one ball put in the back of the net by the opponent, your season’s over,” Farr said of what motivated the Blue Streaks in the extra session of their 1-0 win Saturday. “So I think we want to do our best to come out harder [next game] than we did today and get ahead quick, make sure we get the win early.”

Farr provided the lone goal for Saratoga Springs (No. 1, 13-1-2) in the 85th minute of action against LSI (No. 8, 13-3-2). The junior’s score came right after a strong scoring chance for the Cadets that Saratoga Springs junior keeper Alex Henderson saved. Henderson’s ensuing punt took a friendly path to Farr, who was able to send the Blue Streaks into next Friday’s semifinals against No. 4 CBA.

“I just kind of kicked it as far as I could and Evan just ran onto it and finished it like I’ve seen him do a thousand times,” said Henderson, who made 10 saves in the shutout.

“Alex had a great punt, and I saw a chance that [the LSI] backs weren’t getting back far enough,” Farr said. “The ball ended up bouncing over them — an unlucky header backwards — and I saw my chance, and I was able to run onto it.”

It was hard to question, though, anything about the way the Cadets challenged Saratoga Springs on its home field. LSI advanced to Saturday’s game after registering a tie Thursday with No. 9 Ballston Spa, but the Cadets kept their season alive via penalty kicks.

“Mentally, the other night really helped prepare us in a sense that we kind of felt like we were playing with house money getting to this point,” LSI head coach Matt Michaud said.

Physically? Playing so much soccer in a span of three days wasn’t easy on the Cadets’ bodies.

“On that last ball there,” Michaud said, “it became a foot race.”

Henderson said the Blue Streaks were a “little overconfident” heading into Saturday’s game after earning their postseason tournament’s top seed following a successful season in the Suburban Council. The Cadets, though, had played squads from the Suburban Council tough all season. LSI, a Colonial Council program, was 2-0-1 against Suburban Council teams this season before Saturday’s contest.

As LSI stayed with Saratoga Springs, the pressure kept building on the top-seeded Blue Streaks, who maintained possession for most of Saturday’s action.

“The longer that happens,” Farr said, “the more nervous you become.”

But the Blue Streaks survived and advanced. Farr made sure of that.

“It’s a team sport,” Farr said. “That punt really set it up, but it definitely felt great to be the one to get on the end of it and finish the game off.”

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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