After coming up short in the Section II Class D championship game in 2018 and 2019, the Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville boys’ soccer team made the most of its latest opportunity Tuesday.
The second-seeded Wolves dominated from start to finish in posting a 3-0 victory over fifth-seeded Argyle at Colonie High School.
“We played great for 80 minutes,” OESJ coach Mark Snell said. “We got out to a great start and just carried the momentum the whole way through.”
As has been the case most of the season, the Snell cousins did the damage for the Wolves.
Mason Snell scored two goals for the Wolves, while Andrew Snell added a goal and an assist.
“We played a great game,” Andrew Snell said.
The duo has combined for 62 goals and 27 assists this season as OESJ has outscored its opposition by a 101-18 margin
Mason Snell, a senior, has 37 goals and five assists, while Andrew Snell, a junior, has 25 goals and 22 assists.
“We didn’t care who we played today,” Mason Snell said. “It would have been nice to face Northville or Fort Ann because they are our rivals, but we wanted to win sectionals no matter who we faced.”
OESJ lost to Fort Ann in the 2018 and 2019 Class D title games, and after last year’s sectional tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wolves had to wait until this year for another shot.
“It feels amazing, especially after losing the last two times,” Mason Snell said. “We were going to do whatever it took to win.”
OESJ earned its spot in the title game with a 4-2 win over third-seeded Loudonville Christian in the semifinals and a 4-0 win over seventh-seeded North Warren in its quarterfinal contest.
Argyle upset top-seeded Northville, 1-0, in overtime in the semifinals.
The Scots also earned a forfeit win due to health protocols over fourth-seeded Fort Ann in the quarterfinals, ending the Cardinals’ run of 10 straight Class D titles. Argyle last reached the Class D title game in 2011, where it lost to Fort Ann.
From the start of Tuesday’s contest, Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville came out on the attack and scored in the first four minutes of the game.
Andrew Snell opened the scoring just 3:15 into the game with an unassisted goal to make it 1-0.
OESJ, which outshot Argyle 12-2 in the first half, got its second goal with 8:01 remaining in the half when Mason Snell scored on an assist from Andrew Snell to make it 2-0 at the half.
In the second half, Mason Snell added a second goal to close out the scoring and give OESJ a 3-0 victory.
Owen Feagles made two saves to post the shutout in goal for the Wolves, who outshot Argyle by a 23-2 margin.
Jared Montello made 11 saves for the Scots, who finished with an 8-5-2 overall record.
Though the Snell cousins have played a large role in OESJ’s success, they are surrounded by an experienced roster that includes a total of seven seniors and five juniors.
“It’s special to win this coaching with my brother [Robert] and with my son [Andrew] and nephew [Mason] on the team,” coach Snell said.
In addition to Mason Snell, seniors Owen Feagles, Jesse Walrath, Ian Hayes, Issiah Handy, Paetyn Logan Dillenbeck and Ian Smith have played key roles for OESJ. Along with Andrew Snell, juniors Tristan Stever, Jordon Simzer, Christian Mosher and Aiden Clute are also key contributors.
“This whole team has been playing together as long as I can remember,” Andrew Snell said.”It’s great to win a sectional title with them.”
The sectional title was the first for the combined OESJ program and the first of any kind since St. Johnsville won the Section II Class E crown in 1974.
“This was it,” coach Snell said. “This is what we’ve been working toward and playing for. This was for the guys who didn’t get a chance at sectionals as seniors last spring.”
OESJ (15-2-1 overall) advances to the regional finals to face Section IX champion Mount Academy on Saturday at Middletown High School.
“I think we can make a run in the state tournament,” Andrew Snell said. “Our first game is going to be tough, but if we can get past that one, we have a chance to go far.”
SECTION II CLASS D CHAMPIONSHIP
OPPENHEIM-EPHRATAH/ST. JOHNSVILLE 3, ARGYLE 0
Halftime: OESJ led 2-0. Argyle scoring: none: OESJ scoring: M. Snell 2-0, A. Snell 1-1. Goalies: Argyle, Montello, 11 saves. OESJ, Feagles, 2 saves.