RICKY ST. CLAIR
BEEKMANTOWN — The Beekmantown boys’ soccer team had a flare for late-game dramatics during the final week of the Northern Soccer League season.
Forty-eight hours removed from a come-from-behind tie against Peru, Alex Price’s game-winning goal at 35:06 of the second half helped the Eagles to a 1-0 win over Plattsburgh High Thursday.
With the victory, Beekmantown captured the Division I crown on Senior Night.
“I’m excited for the kids,” Eagles coach Ryan Loucy said. “They’ve really worked hard this year to get better at what they do as a team as well as individuals, but first and foremost as a team. I’m just happy and excited for them.”
Loucy’s team, however, didn’t get off to the start it was looking for.
The Hornets jumped out to a 7-3 advantage in shots and received a quality scoring opportunity from Yanis Yahiaoui inside 2:30 to play in the first half.
“I honestly don’t think we had enough energy and emotion at the start of the game,” Price said. “We got pumped at our halftime, and I thought we got going.”
Loucy couldn’t point to any particular reason why his team was at a deficit in the first half.
“I know sometimes if we don’t have school, we come out flat,” Loucy said. “But that wasn’t the case (Thursday). I’m not really sure … caught up in the emotion of Senior Night or what it was. But we definitely did a much better job in the second half.”
The match remained scoreless as the second half progressed. The two Division I foes each registered five shots through the first 30 minutes.
Then Price received a one-time feed from Ian Pummell nearly 35 yards out and beat a Plattsburgh High defender around the edge.
Going one-on-one with Hornets goalkeeper Mike Stetz, Price fired a shot just inside the near-side post with 4:54 remaining in regulation.
“Well, (our) keeper Matt LaClair punted it to us,” Pummell said. “I saw it coming, and I know Price usually runs behind me, so I flicked it to Price. Price just works his magic and runs down.”
Making 12 saves in net, LaClair registered his seventh shutout of the year and his 14th since the start of the 2012 season.
“It’s the second year in a row that he’s led the league in shutouts, which is great,” Loucy said. “He really is quick, and he’s really gotten much better at his angles defensively to change the angle of the shooter coming in.
“He’s gotten much better in a crowd. (Thursday) you saw him punch a lot of corner kicks out and hold onto the ones which he we went after with his hands.”
In an evenly-played match, the Hornets held the final advantage in shots 12-9 and corner kicks 6-2.
“I think when you look at what they hang their hat on and what we hang our hat on, it’s the same thing — ball control,” Loucy said. “You can see that when both teams get a little out of sorts, you start seeing a lot of balls in the air. That’s kind of what allowed us to do what we did more in the second half — is we kept the ball on the ground more and we used the sidelines more.”
Beekmantown secured itself a No. 1 seed for the Section VII Class B playoffs.
“Entering as a No. 1 seed, we know we have a target on our backs,” Price said. “We want to prove that we earned it. If push comes to shove, we might have to play PHS again in the championship. So we’re going to work hard and try to finish our season with a sectional championship, maybe go further.”
Loucy said a win at this point in the season is always huge going forward.
“When you go into playoffs, you want to have that confidence as a team,” Lousy said. “Whenever you get a win like this over a quality opponent like Plattsburgh going into playoffs … confidence is huge. We lucked out. We got what we needed, and I think that’s going to help us.”
Beekmantown 1, Plattsburgh High 0
Plattsburgh High 0 0 — 0
Beekmantown 0 1 — 1
Second half- 1, BCS, Price (Pummell), 35:06.
Shots: Plattsburgh High 12. Beekmantown 9.
Saves: LaClair, BCS, 12. Stetz, PHS, 7.