Dutchmen can't get by Plainsmen

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Realizing the end: Guilderland senior Isaac Obwald puts his head in his hands as the final seconds of the Dutchmen’s soccer season runs off the clock in a 1-to-0 semifinal loss to Shenendehowa last Thursday in Colonie. Guilderland (13-4-1) was the defending Class AA champion, also winning a title in 2008.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Hand fight: Jeremy Collen, right, of Guilderland, stays in front of Shenendehowa’s Adel Cekic during last Thursday’s Class AA semifinal match in Colonie. The Plainsmen won, 1 to 0, and then went on to beat Niskayuna on Monday for its 18th sectional title.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Parker Carmichael, Guilderland’s goalie, was a big reason why the Dutch allowed only 14 goals this season. Here, Carmichael, right, protects his goal during the Class AA semifinal against Shenendehowa. Guilderland lost, 1 to 0.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Foot skills: Tyler Landry, right, traps the ball for Guilderland during the second half of last Thursday’s semifinal match against Shenendehowa. The Dutchmen did not advance.

COLONIE — Losing a well-executed playoff soccer match by one goal could very well be the equivalent of a ton of bricks falling on your chest. It hurts, and you will spend time in recovery.

“We were extremely competitive tonight,” Guilderland Head Coach Mike Kinnally said after the 1-to-0 Class AA semifinal loss to Shenendehowa in Colonie last Thursday. “We’ll settle down and think about this, and in the next couple weeks start getting ready for next year.”

The Dutchmen had followed up its astounding 2013 championship season — the team made it to the state semifinals — with another successful season that saw the team allow fewer goals (14) than the previous year. Guilderland also had an identical record up to this point.

But it was that 14th goal allowed that thwarted Guilderland’s title defense while Shenendehowa did its best to keep the Dutch scoreless.

The longer last Thursday’s semifinal match remained scoreless, the more tense it became. Halfway through the second half, the Plainsmen received a corner kick, and Miles Burbank served a line drive that was headed into the back of the net by Tom Osborn, who came flying into the box unmarked. It was a great read by Osborn as his head ball went in the opposite direction of his momentum.

“We fought really hard even though we went down,” said Guilderland senior sweeper Brendan McGee after the loss. “I’m not embarrassed at how we did at all. We got unlucky.”

McGee’s somber tone spoke for the rest of his Dutch teammates. Guilderland had its opportunities to score in the second half, but Shenendehowa kept getting in the way.

“We were doing our best to get the ball forward,” Kinnally said; Guilderland went back to its traditional three-forwards formation in the second half. “They did their best. I’m proud of them,” the coach said.

Shenendehowa looked eager to score in the first half. The team kept possession in Guilderland’s half of the field and kept the Dutch and goalie Parker Carmichael busy. Within a one-minute span, Kyle Clemens had two likely goals turned away; his first shot hit the post and Carmichael saved his second with an amazing reaction time.

Kinnally told The Enterprise that Guilderland looked rattled in the first half. “A little panicky, a little nervous, didn’t really settle down and play,” he said. “We settled down in the second half and played well.”

Jerry Lewandowski made a big save through traffic for Shen on a free kick by McGee before Osborn scored. In the final 10 minutes of regulation play, the Dutch’s urgency skyrocketed as one shot was headed away, one went wide, and another was deflected by a Shen defender.

Guilderland had lost most of its starting line-up from last season, but new players were able to step up to keep the team confident for a Class AA title defense, McGee said. “We wanted to defend it, but we’re happy with how we did,” he added.

The Dutchmen won championships in 2008 and 2013 and has made the semifinals five times since Kinnally started coaching in 2003. Kinnally said that he’s approaching 150 wins.

“Oh, we always want to get it done,” said Kinnally. “Our first goal is always 10 wins; our second goal is to win the division; and our third goal is to get to Colonie. Whatever happens, happens, but we always want the same things.”

Last Thursday’s semifinal was another great battle between two soccer programs with illustrious histories. However, Kinnally said that Shenendehowa has more of a mystique than Guilderland. The Plainsmen won its 18th sectional title on Monday over Niskayuna, and it was another 1-to-0 game won with a goal from a head ball.

“We realize that we can play with them,” Kinnally said.

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