PLATTSBURGH — The Northern Adirondack boys’ soccer team caught Lake Placid coach Stuart Hemsley’s attention when it defeated Seton Catholic, 3-1, in the Section VII Class C semifinals.
So Hemsley put even more emphasis on defense Wednesday night when the Blue Bombers defended their sectional championship with a 2-0 victory over the third-seeded Bobcats at the Plattsburgh High School Athletic Complex.
“I watched them score three goals against Seton Catholic and (Ryan) Manion is a sharp player for them,” Hemsley said. “I knew we had to play well defensively and we focused on that (Wednesday).”
Top-seeded Lake Placid limited Northern Adirondack to just three shots the entire game as the Bobcats were never able to get untracked offensively.
“We weren’t dangerous enough offensively,” Northern Adirondack coach Pat Kelleher said. “We did well enough defensively and were able to step up. But it was a tough game for us. We didn’t come to the game with the same verve we did against Seton.
“We didn’t have enough offensively drive (Wednesday).”
The Blue Bombers (9-3-2) held the edge in play right from the start and took an early 1-0 lead on Nzoni Thompson’s goal 4:49 into the contest.
Andrew Meister assisted on the goal, which came off a corner kick. The ball deflected to Thompson, who was on the far side of the net when he put it into the corner.
Lake Placid finished with 13 shots, but wasn’t able to score its second goal until five seconds were left in regulation. Meister got the ball to a wide-open Stuart Baird, who lofted a shot over the head of Northern Adirondack keeper Ethan King and into the net.
“We weren’t able to double our goal scoring until only five seconds were left,” Hemsley said. “And when it’s a 1-0 game, anything can happen. It only takes a second to score a goal.”
Chris Kordziel finished with two saves in the Lake Placid nets to record the shutout.
“We were able to go back-to-back this season,” Hemsley said. “We lost 12 seniors off last year’s championship team and we exceeded expectations this year. We were able to seal the deal (Wednesday), but this isn’t the end of it.
“We knew Northern Adirondack would be prepared to play and Pat (Kelleher) does a great job with his team. This wasn’t the same type of game we had against them in Lake Placid. They were better defensively (Wednesday).
“Shane McNierney played the entire game for us at center midfield and did a great job. Our middle five across did their job, especially on defense where we needed them to. And Nzoni Thompson and Chris Williams gave us good speed up front.”
The wins sends Lake Placid into regional play at Section II next week.
It was a disappointing end of the season for the Bobcats (6-9-1), who played so well in their semifinal win.
“It’s always a good year,” Kelleher said. “I’m proud of our team for not just being good players, but good people.”
Lake Placid 2, Northern Adirondack 0
Northern Adirondack 0 0 — 0
Lake Placid 1 1 — 2
First half- 1, LP, Thompson (Meister), 4:49.
Second half- 2, LP, Baird (Meister), 39:55.
Shots: Lake Placid 13, Northern Adirondack 3.
Saves: King, NAC, 4. Kordziel, LP, 2.