Cameron McDermott was taking no chances.
Seeing the game-winning shot heading into the corner of the Scotia-Glenville goal, the Mohonasen senior got his foot to the ball and made sure it cleared the goal line. The goal, actually belonging to teammate Attilio Tebano, capped a back-and-forth battle Saturday that pushed the Mighty Warriors past the defending champion Tartans, 4-3, and into the Section II boys’ soccer Class A semifinals.
“I wasn’t taking any chances,” said McDermott, who had tied the game 12 minutes earlier. “I just wanted to make sure it crossed the line.”
The win allowed the Mighty Warriors to square what has become an annual rivalry with the Tartans. The teams have now played in the Class A quarterfinals each of the last four years, with the winner going on to take the championship the last three seasons.
“We think about it, but once we go out there, you just have to play,” said McDermott of the recent history between the teams.
Scotia, gunning for its third straight title, stunned the fourth-seeded Mighty Warriors as Chris Alescio and Vitas Carosella drove home free kicks in the opening 10 minutes, both shots coming from the top of the penalty area, and both sneaking inside the near post.
“That will be something we work on in practice the next couple of days, I’m sure,” said Mohonasen central midfielder Joe Avery.
“We knew they like to run and they play hard. We knew it would be a tight game ”
Mohonasen regrouped, and got back into the game when Mike Korzun scored with 10 minutes to play in the first half. A Nick McBride goal tied the game, 2-2, with 45 seconds left in the half.
“To tie it up at the end of the half was big,” said Mohonasen coach Cory Gregg. “We never felt we should have been down 2-0, but we kept fighting to the end of the half.
“We finished both halves very well. But giving up goals early in each half is something we obviously have to correct.”
“It was a momentum switch, but I kind of wanted to get right back out there,” said Scotia coach Chris Bailey, whose club regained the lead early in the second half when Eric Denny scored after a corner kick. “When we got the third goal, there was a lot of time left on the clock, but I thought we could hold the lead.”
McDermott got his team new life when he beat the Scotia defense to the ball and scored late in the second half.
“We just kept pushing forward,” McDermott said.”
“After a while, it looked like it was going to come down the last few minutes,” noted Avery. “They played a really good game, but in the end, it came down to who wanted that last goal.”
“Every time we had a lead, we had a difficult time holding on to it,” Bailey said. “They didn’t let up.”
Alescio, who helped his team win the last two “A” titles, was disappointed to see a third run come up short.
“Both times when we scored early in the half, I knew there was a lot of time left, and I knew they weren’t going to quit,” said Alescio, whose play has been hampered all season by a leg injury. “You want to do more. You want to be able to help your team win.”
“We had him out there when we could,” said Bailey, who used Alescio as more of a distributing midfielder this season. “Unfortunately, that’s the way the season has gone for Chris. But he wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.”
Gregg felt competing in the tough Suburban Council against nine Class AA teams helped his team prepare for the sectionals.
“There’s no question,” he said. “Game in and game out, it forces you to get better. Where we were early in the season, and where we are now, we’re a very different team.”
Mohonasen, 9-9-0, plays the winner of Monday’s Albany Academy vs. Glens Falls quarterfinal. The semifinal is set for 3 p.m. Wednesday at Queensbury High School.