RICKY ST. CLAIR
PERU — Plattsburgh High boys’ soccer coach Chris LaRose had this week circled on his calendar since the Northern Soccer League schedule was finalized April 25.
Forty-eight hours removed from upsetting No. 18 Saranac Lake, the Hornets (5-3) picked up their second consecutive Division I win with a 3-2 defeat of Peru Thursday.
“I told the boys this week, ‘This is our homecoming,’” LaRose said. “We don’t have the (Seton Catholic) game on Saturday when the football team was still in existence. So I told them, ‘Your homecoming games are playing No. 18 Saranac Lake and Class A Peru. Make them both count.’ Fortunately, we’ve been able to do that.”
Garrett Frady and Yanis Yahiaoui combined for three goals and one assist in the one-goal victory.
Frady, a senior captain, opened scoring with 22:18 gone in the first half.
“The ball hit off the goalie’s hand, and it was about five inches off the end line,” Frady said. “It was diagonal from the post, so I gave it a tap. Luckily, it went in.”
After Indians (4-4-1) forward Peter Daly sent home an Ian Spear one-time feed to tie the game at 1-all, Yahiaoui got on the score sheet.
The junior forward ripped a shot from 30 yards out, putting Plattsburgh High up 2-1 with 31 seconds remaining before the halftime break.
“I saw that time was running out, so I just let one go with my left foot,” Yahiaoui said. “Momentum-wise, that was a huge goal for our team.”
The Hornets led shots 11-3 and corner kicks 5-1 in the first 40 minutes of play.
“We know that Peru has got some tremendous speed, so we had to play a little bit of keep-away and maintain possession,” LaRose said. “I said, ‘The best way to make ourselves successful is have the other team chase us. If we possess, we’ll win. If we chase, we’ll struggle.’ (Thursday), we were able to possess better in the first half.”
Frady helped extend the Hornets’ lead to two tallies with his second goal of the match at 3:26.
With a 3-1 lead the Hornets’ emotions were running high.
Three players were handed yellow cards for expressing their displeasure with officials with just under 30 minutes remaining in regulation.
“It was a little uncharacteristic of our team,” LaRose said. “It shows the emotion of the game. The officials understand it, and they have to help get the game back under control. Peru’s playing to keep its position in Division I, and we’re trying to work our way up the standings. It was just raw emotion.”
Alex Beaudette cut the deficit to one goal at 23:33, but Peru was unable to spark a comeback to force overtime.
Mike Stetz was credited with the win in net for the Hornets, registering seven saves in the second half and nine in the match.
“He stepped up when we needed him to,” LaRose said. “There was a little bit of a crack in his armor (after Peru’s second goal) right there, but he got his focus back. He came through like the keeper I was hoping he would become.”
With Plattsburgh High’s football team forfeiting the remainder of its season due to low numbers, the soccer team’s game against Seton Catholic will be the centerpiece of the school’s homecoming events and will include Hall of Fame inductions Saturday.
The Hornets play host to their cross-town rival at 2:30 p.m.
“We’re finally starting to piece some wins together,” LaRose said. “We’re right back in the thick of things in the division race. Hopefully, we can pull off the trifecta by going 3-for-3 Saturday.”
Plattsburgh High 3, Peru 2
Plattsburgh High 2 1 — 3
Peru 1 1 — 2
First half- 1, PHS, Frady (Yahiaoui), 22:18. 2, PCS, Daly (Spear), 35:45. 3, PHS, Yahiaoui (Mihal), 39:29.
Second half- 4, PHS, Frady (Channell, Tolosky), 3:26. 5, PCS, Beaudette, 23:33.
Shots: Plattsburgh High 16. Peru 11.
Saves: Stetz, PHS, 9. Loveless, PCS, 9.