CV-S tops Margaretville in sectional finals
By John Bernhardt
“A good soccer player plays where the ball is. A great soccer player plays where the ball is going to be.”
Cherry Valley put that soccer maxim to the test on Saturday in Oneonta as the Patriots downed Margaretville, 3-0, to become Section IV, Class D champions. It was almost as if Cherry Valley used a built in soccer radar tracking system to trail the flight of the ball. The Patriots were everywhere.
For Cherry Valley this season has been about defense. Anticipate, devastate, dominate, has been the Patriots battle cry. Cherry Valley’s (17-0-2) run to the state tournament includes 17 shutouts. The Patriots’ defense has only allowed two goals all year.
Although they started slowly there were good moments for Margaretville. The Blue Devils looked overwhelmed during the first five minutes of the game but shook off their doldrums after Cherry Valley scored. The Patriots found the nets less than six minutes into the contest when Scott Stiles handled a long pass from Kyle Jaquay and tipped a shot into the right corner of the nets.
Statistically, the first half was a dead heat. Both teams took six shots and had two corner kicks with Stiles’ goal the only difference. The Blue Devils appeared to have the game tied midway through the half, when a Peter Cella corner kick tipped off and over the outstretched fingers of C-V goalie Andrew Bosc. With little room to spare, the ball bounced toward the goal line with players from both teams charging. Patriot sweeper Collin Lamouret got their first and cleared the ball away from the goal.
Margaretville returned to the field fired up after halftime. The Blue Devils dominated the first eight minutes of the half, never allowing C-V to get the ball to their offensive side of the field even once. But, when they did, the Patriots scored. Stiles and Jaquay were the culprits again. This time Stiles crossed the ball to Jaquay who knocked it home.
The second C-V goal was a killer, clipping the wind from the Blue Devils’ sails. From that point forward Margaretville would not mount a serious threat.
The Blue Devils reached the championship game by stunning the defending champion South Kortright Rams, 2-1, in a double overtime thriller Wednesday in Oneonta. At the time, South Kortright topped the New York State Class D poll.
Margaretville took the game to the Rams in the first half. The Blue Devils scored the only goal in the half and had several other promising opportunities. With less than seven minutes to play, Ian Williams worked the ball down the right sideline and lifted a cross directed toward the far post. Rams’ goalie Brandon Tuttle stretched to intercept the cross but the ball deflected off his fingertips and Matt VanValkenburg cleaned up with a rebound score.
The ceaseless energy and perpetual motion of SK striker Trevor Holdridge finally paid dividends midway through the second half. Holdridge whistled a shot from the right side that Margaretville goalie Mitch Hull couldn’t reach to tie the score at 1-1.
Hull was a major part of the Margaretville upset. Under heavy SK assault late in the game, the junior tender was everywhere turning away point blank Ram offensive chances.
After regulation time ended in a deadlock, it was an Ian Williams’ goal late in the first sudden death overtime period that allowed the Blue Devils to advance. Williams turned a long, high Adam VanValkenburg pass from the defensive side of the field into a breakaway for the game-winner.