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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 8, 2010

Fall 2009 was a season of thrills and spills

By Jordan J. Michael

This past fall, Voorheesville won a soccer championship with penalty kicks, and the Guilderland football team had one of the biggest upsets in Section II playoff history.

Some teams and athletes had glorious moments and others didn’t meet expectations. Either way, The Enterprise had the privilege of covering another exciting fall sports season in Albany County. Next week, we’ll review the winter and spring seasons.


 The Voorheesville boys’ soccer team won a nerve-racking game over Schoharie for the Class CC title. The contest went through two scoreless overtime periods and had to be decided on a round of penalty kicks. Goalkeeper Joe Keenan, who will be back as a senior next fall, made two huge stops to give the Blackbirds a chance to win.

Andrew Cole, who will also be a senior next fall, nailed the game-winning penalty kick for the victory. However, Section II ruled Voorheesville and Schoharie co-champions of Class CC. The Blackbirds were the true champs that earned another game, but senior Eric Meyer said that Schoharie deserved to be recognized for its efforts, too.

 “They played just as hard as we did,” said Meyer, who will attend the University of Maryland in the fall. “It’s bittersweet in a way because another team got the same trophy,” Meyer said this week. “It’s a good rule and we got to move on.”

Even though the team lost to Waterford in the next round, it played interesting soccer all season long after losing some key players from the previous year. The players were young, but very skilled and passionate about the sport.

“A lot of us have played together since elementary school,” Meyer said. “We had some inner-team struggles, but everyone got along.”

In the semifinals, Voorheesville beat Maple Hill, a team that had dominated Class CC in recent years. “Getting by them was something we all wanted,” said Meyer.

The 2010 team should be able to pick up where 2009 left off. Meyer, Zack Keller, and Marty Hesselbacher are the only players leaving the roster. Keenan, Chris Dimmitt, David Suozzo, Pat Brousseau, Zach Jones, Hayden Wood, Cole, and Joe Cillis should maintain their starting positions.

“They have a great chance to do it next season,” Meyer said. “The program has come a long way.”

Oct. 22 might go down as the greatest moment in Guilderland football history after the team upset top-seed LaSalle in overtime, 34-33, as rain poured down on the field. The Dutch had a seven-point lead at halftime and were able to stay close with true effort from the players.

Senior Matt Ward saved the game for the Dutch by diving in the end zone to catch a two-point conversion that the team needed to tie the game at 27 points a piece. LaSalle scored quickly in overtime, but missed an extra point attempt that proved to be costly.

“I believe that we all will remember that game forever,” said senior Michael Lavelle this week. He kicked the game-winning extra point. “Games like that are very rare,” he said.

Lavelle moved to Altamont two years ago from Atlanta, Ga. and will be attending the University of Alabama in the fall for communications. He needed four extra-point attempts to seal the game because Cadet players kept jumping offside in anticipation.

“It was pretty disturbing to kick the ball over and over again,” Lavelle said. “I just tried to remain calm.”

Lavelle told The Enterprise that it was a “rough” time for the Dutchmen because numerous players had the flu. “We just kept believing,” he said.

Rising Guilderland junior Jenna Bickel is already an experienced and confident swimmer at the age of 15. She competed in her third straight state meet last November.

Bickel finished fourth in the 100-meter backstroke and 13th in the 50-meter freestyle at states after winning both events at sectionals. Her 57.25 finish in the backstroke at sectionals was an All-American time.

Guilderville Head Coach Breanna Autrey told The Enterprise back in November that Bickel could have “a shot at the Olympics” if she stays on her current path. Bickel has two more years left on the team to improve her speed in the water.

“I’d be more than willing to make a career out of swimming,” Bickel said in November. “But, I can’t predict anything.”

The Voorheesville girls and the Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys repeated as sectional champions in cross-country last fall. Conor Cashin of the Voorheesville boys’ team was the individual champion of Class C for the second straight year with a time of 15:48.44.


While the leaves started to fall, so did some local sports teams.

The Voorheesville football team came back from a discouraging 2008 season and posted a 6-1 record in 2009. Surprisingly, the Blackbirds got busted up in its first sectional game on the road in Cambridge. The final score was 41 to 0.

Head Coach Joe Sapienza didn’t have much to say after the game. It was a confusing outcome because Voorheesville looked like a football club that had places to go.

Junior running machine Max Schuster missed the game due to illness and the Blackbirds were never able to establish a ground game. Quarterback Ryan Duncan, who completed plenty of passes during the regular season, couldn’t connect. It was a bad end to a promising campaign.

What could have been?

It was a rough autumn for the Berne-Knox-Westerlo soccer program on both the female and male sides. The boys’ team had great defense without any goal support and the Lady Bulldogs suffered a lopsided defeat in its opening-round sectional game on home turf.

The boys finished with a 7-10-1 record and scored only 20 goals. Senior Ryan LaBelle led the team with five goals. The Bulldog defense gave up four goals in its last six games.

 “We struggled to score,” Head Coach Jim Gillis said in November.

Junior Marion Bates led the Lady Bulldogs and all of Section II in goals with 43, but the season ended with a gaffe. Hoosic Valley came to Berne on a dark day and routed the higher seeded BKW team, 6 to 1.

Soccer is an unpredictable sport and the Bulldogs’ experience is proof.

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