Scotia-Glenville senior Eric Denny gets conflicted when it comes to playing at Foothills Council rival Broadalbin-Perth.
“I like coming here, but I don’t like coming here,” he said Wednesday after scoring the winning goal late in the Tartans’ 3-2 win on the Patriots’ artificial turf field.
“I love playing on this turf. But I hate coming here, because I know it’s going to be a very tough game with a very skilled team.”
The win was the second in three days on that field for Scotia, which beat the reigning state Class B champion Patriots, 2-1, in overtime Monday in a non-league game, a matchup that came about when Hudson Falls opted to not field a varsity team in late August.
Denny knows of what he speaks, because he has known nothing but tight matches with Broadalbin-Perth since he’s been a varsity player. The last nine games between the teams have resulted in one-goal decisions.
“I think both teams deserved to win because, honestly, for a high school soccer match to go back and forth like that, nobody deserves to lose,” said Scotia coach Chris Bailey, who saw his team come from behind for the first time this season after B-P’s Mark Sylvia headed home a Tucker Wilcox cross five minutes into the game.
It was only the second goal that Scotia (4-0-0 FC, 8-0-0 overall) had conceded all year, the first coming Monday.
“This was the first time we’ve been behind in a game this year. It was different because we had to come back instead of maintaining a lead,” said Tartans junior goalkeeper Adam Ashcroft, who made a couple of strong saves, but mostly used good positioning to handle B-P chances.
“It’s always tough to lose against Scotia. We’re just in battle after battle with those guys,” said Patriots coach Brian Henry, whose 3-1-1, 5-2-1 team fell behind, 2-1, when Country Moran pounced on a scuffed goal kick from Sylvia and scored to break a 1-1 tie with 13:18 remaining.
“Mark takes that kick 100 times, and maybe, maybe once, he mishits it,” Henry said. “It seems whoever gets the last opportunity walks away with the win.”
Scott Everson, another defender, came forward and got the Patriots a 2-2 tie with just under eight minutes left.
“I thought we had it after that,” said Klemczak, one of several key player back from the Patriots’ state title team. “We had all the momentum. It just so happened they got another counter-attack and got a deflection.”
Denny scored the winner with 72 seconds to play. He had dropped back to help on defense after Moran’s goal.
“I don’t even look. Every team we get up a goal against a good team, I drop back,” he said.
“They’re well organized. I think they have a great advantage playing here, because they play a great 1-2 touch game,” Bailey said. “They play well together, and it’s very difficult to disrupt or get them out of their system of play.”
The Tartans paid extra attention to Wilcox over the final 40 minutes.
“They started double-teaming Tucker,” Klemczak said. “It was tough, but we were trying to get Tucker any kind of ball.
“Obviously, he’s going to command a lot of attention, and deservedly so. He’s such a dynamic player,” said Henry of his talented senior, who has 12 goals this season.
“I’m sure the guys will be talking about this game for weeks to come, but the reality is, we have a lot of season left in us,” said Bailey.
Playing each other twice in three days was not the first choice of either coach.
“We didn’t really have a lot of opportunity to schedule another team, because everything happened so close to the beginning of the season. And to be honest, we were kind of trying to avoid each other,” said Henry. “I figured it’s better to play a high-quality game, even with a chance of losing, as long as you improve, rather than play an 8-0 game where you learn nothing.
“It was two highly skilled, athletic teams going at it. You wouldn’t expect anything less from a BP-Scotia match.”