Unbeaten Blue Devil boys are No. 3 in New York State soccer poll
By Julia Green
The target on the backs of the unbeaten Margaretville Blue Devils soccer team got a little bigger last week, as the state rankings released last week by the New York State Sports Writers Association placed them in the No. 3 spot behind top-ranked Hamilton and No. 2 Fort Ann as of Oct. 3. The Blue Devils, who are 10-0-1 and 7-0 in the league, head into the last week of the regular season already having clinched the Upper Delaware League.
“It’s certainly an honor to be ranked, but there’s still a lot of season left,” said MCS Head Coach Jeremey Marks. “It’s a testament to how hard the guys have worked so far, but I think we as a team realize that there’s still a lot of soccer to be played and a lot that we still want to accomplish.”
They’ll get that chance this week, as they face the top two teams on the other side of the Delaware League: the Rams of South Kortright and the Mountaineers of Andes.
“I expect it to be a tough week,” Marks said. “That side of the league has not been decided yet, so there’s a lot at stake in each game.”
Margaretville posted a solid 5-1 win at Jefferson on Thursday, despite going down a goal early on when the ball got played in to the far post and was then headed back across the goal to Ryan VanLooy, who settled it and hit the shot.
Senior Sam Mendoza led the Blue Devils on Thursday with two goals, and Abraham Morales, Cody Fronckowiak and Tyler Smith added a goal apiece for the Blue Devils.
“Sam’s been playing well,” Marks said. “He provides a lot of energy off the bench. He’s our spark.”
Heading into a telling week, Marks said he is pleased with the way his team is playing.
“We’re finishing, we’re possessing well, and I think our midfield’s doing a better job controlling the play,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of production from our bench, which is key. We’re going to need that down the stretch.”
He added that, if he had any concern about the way his team is playing, it would be that he’d like to see them get on the scoreboard earlier.
“I’d like to see us finish with more of a sense of urgency in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the game,” he said. “It seems like we’ve been missing out on some chances early on that we’d normally jump on. I’d like to see us capitalize on our scoring opportunities earlier in the game.
“But,” he added, “I like how we’re progressing. Our guys are focused on still taking one opponent at a time. And we understand that, as the last week approaches, we need to fine-tune some things and get better at some little things and finish the league on a high note.”
The Blue Devils will travel to South Kortright to face the Rams on Wednesday. It will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams, who battled last season with each taking a win before South Kortright ended Margaretville’s season in the sectional championship.
“We always expect a tough game with South Kortright,” Marks said. “They’re well-coached and they have a great program. We’re looking forward to playing them.”
Margaretville will face Gilboa and Andes on Friday and Saturday, respectively, to finish out the regular season.
“Our goals haven’t changed,” Marks said. “We’re trying to wrap up and defend our Upper Delaware League title, which would be our third in a row, and once that’s determined and we have secured the league, then we’ll look to the crossover game and that opponent. But I don’t look too far ahead.”
The Mountaineers’ Corey Barrett scored the game-winner with just over 20 minutes remaining in regulation to lead Andes to a 2-1 over the visiting Warriors of Windham on Thursday. It was a crucial win for the Mountaineers, who tied division leader South Kortright last Monday to remain at the No. 2 spot in the Mountain Division.
A stingy Windham defense shut down area leading scorer Peter Fabrykiewicz, who was limited to an assist on the Mountaineers’ first goal, which was scored by Eddie Mackay. The Mountaineers moved to 8-1-1 overall and 6-1-1 in the league as they head into the final week of the regular season.
Andes hosted the visiting Eagles of Downsville on Tuesday; no result was available at press time. They will also face Upper Delaware League division leader Margaretville at MCS at 4:15 on Saturday.
The Roxbury boys battled to a tough 3-0 loss at Hunter-Tannersville on Thursday. Rockets goalkeeper Garrett Hall tallied 10 saves for Roxbury, which was out-shot by the Wildcats, 16-3.
Roxbury faced the visiting Wildcats of Gilboa on Tuesday; no result was available at press time. They will face the host Mountaineers of Andes at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday in their final game of the regular season.