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Schalmont boys reach soccer final

Schalmont boys reach soccer final

Beat Mechanicville, face Ichabod Crane next
Schalmont boys reach soccer final
Gabe Comenzo points to the crowd after scoring Schalmont's first goal in a 2-0 win over Mechancville Tuesday night.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

ROTTERDAM — Mechanicville had only  a handful of good scoring opportunities Tuesday night, but two came quick, and Ryan Taylor was ready.

The Schalmont sophomore goalkeeper turned aside a pair of close-range headers to preserve a one-goal lead in the second half, and the Sabres went on to post a 2-0 win in a something-had-to-give Section II Class B semifinal game on the Mohonasen turf.

Neither team had lost since their season openers, and Schalmont (No. 1 seed, 16-1-2) still hasn't, in large part due to the Sabres' quick-reacting netminder and goal-scorers Gabe Comenzo and Ryan Edwards.

"Mechanicville definitely in the first half had the better of us," said Comenzo, who broke up a scoreless duel between league champs 4:31 into the second half. "The tables turned."

Edwards provided the clincher with 1:45 left, assuring that Schalmont would get another meeting with longtime sectional rival Ichabod Crane (No. 2 seed, 16-3) in Saturday's 6 p.m. title game at Colonie. Ichabod Crane is the two-time defending Class B champion.

"That would be a great memory if our seniors could finish off their year with a title," Schalmont coach Vito Urbano said.

Schalmont beat Ichabod Crane twice earlier this season (4-1 and 3-2) as part of its Colonial Council Division 1 championship.

"That would feel so good, to win the title," said Comenzo, a senior midfielder. "They [Ichabod Crane] win it every year. They've had our number pretty much forever."

Ichabod Crane and Schalmont will be meeting on the sectional trail for the fifth time in six years. Ichabod Crane beat Schalmont in title games last year and in 2014 and 2013, as well as in the 2016 semifinals. Schalmont won the last of its area championships in 2015 against a Broadalbin-Perth team that had eliminated Ichabod Crane in the semifinals.

"The good thing about playing Ichabod Crane is we know their strengths and we know their weaknesses," Urbano said. "It works the same for them."

Taylor's saves in a two-minute span helped point the way for the state's No. 4 team, as he denied both Jeff Luce and then Zach Rappacioulo after corner kicks.

"In my opinion, that was one of my best saves of the season," Taylor said of his stop on a drive by Rappacioulo with 25:20 left in the second half. "The ball was heading to the left corner, and I got a hand on it."

Rappacioulo had gotten in front of Comenzo on his attempt to score.

"He [Taylor] saved my butt. He [Rappacioulo] was my kid," Comenzo said. "The kid headed it point-blank. Ryan dropped and swiped it off the ground."

"They were both very good headers," said Taylor, who finished with four saves. "I kept them out and kept us afloat."

Comenzo scored from 30 yards away on a curving shot that found the lower right corner of the net.

"I had the same shot earlier and it went over the goal," Comenzo said. "I saw the ball pop out and I had to take it again, left foot. I was so happy it went in."

Edwards scored from close range, with the ball just getting past diving Mechanicville (No. 4 seed, 17-2) goalie Zach White.

"I still don't think we've played up to our standards in the sectionals," said Urbano, whose team began the tournament with wins against Cohoes (4-0) and Cobleskill-Richmondville (1-0). "We did better in the second half and we'll take the win, but I think there's more in us."

Earlier Tuesday, Anthony Carlucci scored with 3:18 left in the first overtime to send Ichabod Crane past Schuylerville (No. 3 seed, 14-5) and into its third straight Class B title game 3-2

Carlucci also scored the tying goal in the second half, while Mike Lanfear had both of the Schuylerville goals.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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