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PPR SPORTS NCCS-Ichabod Crane 1111
Northeastern Clinton's McKenna Hunter (left) and Ichabod Crane's Eduardo Gomez (7) battle on a header during Saturday's NYSPHSAA Class B boys' quarterfinal at Plattsburgh High School. The Cougars fell 3-0. (P-R PHOTO/ROB FOUNTAIN)

Cougars fall in battle of the unbeatens

By: ERIC GISSENDANNER

PLATTSBURGH — In a game filled with physical play for undefeated teams, Section II champion Ichabod Crane gritted out a 3-0 win against Section VII champion Northeastern Clinton in Class B boys’ regional championship soccer play at Plattsburgh High School Saturday.

Two minutes into the game, an Ichabod Crane attacker was pushed from behind in the box and the Riders were awarded a penalty kick. Seth Scarano lined up for the kick and converted on his chance with a low strike to the left side of the net to give the Riders an early 1-0 lead.

With the tally, Scarano now has 40 goals on the year. While a good scoreboard result, the goal actually hampered the team, Ichabod Crane coach Mattias Norgen said.

“It was early in the game and we score on a penalty kick,” Norgen said. “We then had the lead and our guys kind of laid back for a bit. I really thought NCCS had the better first half.”

Trailing by a goal, the Cougars applied offensive pressure deep in Ichabod Crane zone. Less than 10 minutes after the first goal, Northeastern Clinton fired a shot off the crossbar. The Cougars then had near scores off corner kicks and scrambles in the box. Known for its speed and physical play, Northeastern Clinton had to battle an Ichabod Crane offense that used one-touch passes and crafty footwork on the sidelines to move upfield.

“The physical play was a shock for some of our guys,” Norgen said. “We don’t see a lot of teams that play that way, so it was important that we matched the intensity.”

Both teams battled throughout the game with the biggest play resulting in a yellow and subsequent red card for Northeastern Clinton standout Kyle McCarthy. The Riders then had a would-be goal after a bicycle kick waved off for offside. With the call, the game entered halftime with a 1-0 score.

Like the first half, Ichabod Crane wasted no time scoring in the second half. Diego Lezama picked up the loose ball and swiped a shot into the net just 35 seconds in for the 2-0 lead. That lead extended when Jaesues Gomez lined a shot to the lower right corner.

The Cougars had their share of scoring opportunities, but could not find the back of the net. While a power team throughout the regular season, Northeastern Clinton struggled to put all the pieces together in Saturday’s game.

“The more you go into the postseason, the harder games get,” Northeastern Clinton coach Dale Hawksby said. “I couldn’t be happier for our guys for this whole season. We were always aggressive and hustled.”

Rider keeper Pierce Reilly had a four-save shutout while Josh Rabideau made seven saves for the Cougars.

Ichabod Crane continues its unbeaten season at 20-0-1 while Northeastern Clinton ends its season at 16-1 after claiming another sectional championship.

Ichabod Crane 3, Northeastern Clinton 0

Ichabod Crane 1 2 — 3

Northeastern Clinton 0 0 — 0

First half – 1, IC, Scarano (PK), 2:54

Second half – 2, IC, Lezama, 0:35. 3, IC, J. Gomez (E. Gomez), 6:30.

Shots: Ichabod Crane 10, Northeasten Clinton 4.

Saves: Reilly, IC, 4. Rabideau, NCCS, 7.

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