The current season started out differently than any Scotia-Glenville boys’ soccer coach Chris Bailey could remember.
But as October draws to a close, the season is playing out like most, as the Tartans bid for a Section II Class A title.
“This summer, I had to make phone calls, getting kids to play this season,” said Bailey, whose team opened postseason play Thursday with a 2-0 home win over Amsterdam. “I’ve never had to do that before.
“It wasn’t like they were switching sports. For whatever reason, the interest wasn’t there.
Compounding matters, Bailey knew this would be a transition year, as 11 players had graduated from the 2012 team that shared a piece of the Foothills Council title and finished 14-2-1 overall after an overtime loss in the sectional quarterfinals.
“We got two lacrosse players and a basketball player to come out, and all three are good athletes. But they weren’t experienced soccer players.
“The entire team has worked very hard, and now they are reaping the rewards of that work.”
Scotia opened the season with a 1-0 loss to Troy in the first round of the Capital Cup tournament, and went 10-5-1 during the season, winding up with the seventh seed in Class A.
All of that led to some nervousness as the Tartans opened the postseason.
“The mentality is different. It’s one loss and you’re done,” said goalkeeper Adam Ashcroft, one of only two seniors on the Scotia roster. “We didn’t know a lot about Amsterdam, except that they had some fast players up front.
“I was a little nervous for a while.”
Amsterdam had more of the ball in the first half, though the Tartans had far more dangerous chances. That pressure finally paid off late in the half when 6-foot-5 Mike Palleschi, a key reserve on Scotia’s 2013 Class A basketball championship team, rose up to head in a corner kick from sophomore Owen Fingar with 3:47 left.
“We had some good chances before that, so I knew we were going to get at least one,” said Bailey.
Palleschi’s unfamiliarity with the sport had shown earlier in the half. Unmarked at the left post, he couldn’t tuck home Fingar’s great cross from the opposite side of the penalty area,
“I should have scored on that one,” said the 11th-grader, who made good on his second chance. “I looked at Owen, and he put a great ball in there.
“It’s important to get goals when you have the chance, because if you don’t win, your season is over.”
Mike Fraioli gave Scotia a two-goal edge with 10:05 left in the game, setting up a third meeting this season with 12-4-0 South Glens Falls, a 7 p.m. quarterfinal on the Bulldogs’ field. South High, the second seed, has won 12 of its last 13 games, 11 by shutout.
Junior midfielder Billy Bean is also a little surprised at the team’s success.
“We’re a really young team,” he said. “We lost a lot of seniors from last year, and we had to get used to playing together.
“Today, we played a team we didn’t see during season, and it took us a little while to see how they played, who their best players were. But we figured it out.”