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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 10, 2011

Guilderland soccer plays Shenendehowa tight in semifinals, lose 2-0

By Jordan J. Michael

COLONIE –– Guilderland was looking forward to a semifinal match against Shenendehowa ever since the Class AA soccer playoffs began. The Dutchmen got its wish last Thursday, but squandered its opportunity for an upset.

“We wanted Shen,” Guilderland Head Coach Mike Kinnally said after the 2-to-0 loss at Colonie. The Plainsmen went on to win its 17th Class AA title on Monday.

As far as Section II soccer goes, the rivalry between Guilderland and Shenendehowa is one of the more classic. The games are physical, but clean. Orchestrated, but with moments of chaos, they can be very entertaining.

Kinnally told The Enterprise that Thursday’s game was one of Guilderland’s best of the season, and it may have been. The Dutch were consistent, had plenty of chances on goal, but gave away two questionable scores.

In the 23rd minute of the first half, Adam Barlow snuck a shot past Dutch keeper Kedrick Weeden, who couldn’t secure the initial shot on goal. With less than 10 minutes left in regulation, Shen’s Michael Jenkins easily put the game out of reach with a penalty kick after Guilderland had received two yellow cards in the penalty box –– one for a foul and the other for descent after the play.

“Those goals weren’t great, but that’s not why we lost,” junior Vito Mesiti said. “We didn’t get consistent pressure up top. I thought we would push more guys up, but apparently we didn’t.”

Mesiti had a header saved by Spencer Junco early in the game and then was unmarked again on Guilderland’s next chance. In the second half, Mesiti collided with Junco in mid-air, jarring the ball loose, but no Dutch players were in front of the net to finish the deal.

“It was a good game,” said Mesiti. “I think we showed everyone why we deserved to be here.”

The Plainsmen defense resembles a wall, giving up only 10 goals over the entire season. A defender is always there to clear the ball out of danger. Most of Guilderland’s chances were sent away.

Shenendehowa Head Coach Mike Campisi said that the defense really works when players aren’t spread out and are there to back each other up. “They played some dangerous balls,” Campisi said of Guilderland. “We bent, but didn’t break.”

The Dutchmen had trouble in the final third, a reoccurring theme throughout the season. Guilderland was a fine team, but it had a missing piece.

“It was hard for us to make up mistakes,” Kinnally said of the 2011 season. “But, we got to the final four and gave Shen a scare.”

Kinnally and Assistant Coach Arn Armstrong reached 100 wins in their ninth season together on the sidelines for the Dutch. Kinnally and Armstrong took a “knock and chase” type of team and turned it into one that is more possessive.

“We can do both, really,” Kinnally said. “People thought we were crazy to change things, but its worked out pretty good.”

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