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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 30, 2008

Voorheesville’s sectional bubble is popped
Blackbirds beat Schoharie but can’t figure out Lake George

By Jordan J. Michael

QUEENSBURY –– Twelve Voorheesville soccer players will never wear a Blackbirds jersey again. The run is officially over.

The Voorheesville boys had high expectations for the Class CC sectionals. After playing in the tough Colonial Council versus Class A and B schools, the team is always seen as a force in the postseason.

Number-one seed Lake George let everyone know that it is the team to beat, downing the Blackbirds in the semi-finals, 3-1, on Wednesday in Queensbury.

“I wish we could have gone out on a better note with all these seniors,” said Head Coach Willie Sanchez. “Sometimes soccer sucks and things don’t go your way.”

The semi-final was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but the out-of-control weather moved the game to Wednesday afternoon. Even after all the rain, the field was dry and ready to host a fantastic soccer duel.

Voorheesville beat Schoharie on Thursday, 1-0, to advance to the semi-final round. Ryan Dimmitt scored the only goal of the game after the Indians failed to clear the zone. The Blackbirds looked sharp.

The weather for Wednesday’s match was cold and breezy and many of the players were wearing gloves. The play of Voorheesville and Lake George would heat things up.

The game started with possession in the middle of the field. Both teams were figuring each other out. The Warriors’ Mike Kenny had the first shot of the match, sending in a grounder that Blackbird goalie Lee Fenner had to dive for.

Voorheesville would strike first in the 25th minute with an amazing show of footwork in front of the net. Zach Keller pitched a free kick to Ryan Gatt, who one touched it to an incoming Hayden Wood. Lake George keeper Cameron Jones had no chance and the score was 1 to 0.

The Blackbirds looked to be in control, but the tides quickly turned to the Warriors for the next four minutes.

Lake George evened the score when Toby Noble took a pass from Ryan Lynch, split two defenders, and then ripped a shot from 25 yards that hit the top corner to Fenner’s left. The Voorheesville defense didn’t lock down Noble and the score was tied.

One minute later, the Warriors were awarded a free kick from the left side. Will Matthews served it right to the goalmouth where Kenny, the smallest man on the field, rose to head it past Fenner.

The Lake George bench and fans rejoiced, as the Blackbirds stood dumbfounded. The Warriors had a shocking 2-to-1 lead.

“We did a poor job of marking up on their goals and they took advantage of that,” said Sanchez.

Jones would be busy before the end of the first half. He took down Wood in the box, but no penalty was called. Jones then had a point-blank save off of Drew Alteri’s foot.

Unable to finish

Voorheesville’s second half was a tale of missed opportunities. The team clearly had more skills than Lake George and it dominated possession. When the Warriors did have the ball, it didn’t go to waste.

The Blackbirds had two close calls at the beginning of the second stanza. Dimmitt and Alteri set each other up on opposing plays but couldn’t score. Frustration was setting in.

Lake George received a corner kick in the 49th minute and it would apply the final nail in the coffin for Voorheesville. Andrew Pensel hit the ball into a sea of players and Robert Mastrantoni found it for the score. The lead was 3 to 1.

The Blackbirds were now in panic mode, keeping the ball in the Warriors’ third of the field. However, the Lake George defense had all the answers, led by senior sweeper back Brendan Dunn. He was a wall.

Voorheesville kept attacking. At one point, Dimmitt and Jones made contact and Jones was left out of the play, leaving the goal wide open. Dimmitt put it on goal but Dunn saved the day by heading it out.

“Lake George won a lot of 50/50 balls and kept clearing it out of danger,” Sanchez said. “They played good aggressive soccer and stuck to a working plan.”

The Blackbirds’ frustration climaxed as the match came down to the final minutes. Dimmitt, who was getting hammered throughout the game, yelled at the referee and got his second yellow card. Dimmitt was tossed from the game and his brother Chris Dimmitt received a yellow card in his defense.

Lake George won, 3-to-1, and the 12 Voorheesville seniors would not see the Class CC final.

“We played well but couldn’t finish. It doesn’t make much sense,” said Sanchez. “I don’t want to believe that this is the end. Reality hasn’t set in yet.”

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