RICKY ST. CLAIR
CHAZY — With over three minutes gone in the second half, Beekmantown’s Ethan Bacon delivered a cross, which Ryan Waterbury headed over the crossbar by mere inches.
Waterbury, though, wasn’t to be denied on an identical play less than a minute later.
Waterbury converted on the header before adding another goal at 26:46, helping the Eagles (11-3-1) to their second Section VII Class B boys’ soccer championship in three years with a 2-0 defeat of Plattsburgh High Friday.
“I’m very excited for them,” Beekmantown coach Ryan Loucy said. “They’ve really worked hard this year, and they played well (Friday). They did what the coaches asked them to do. We made some adjustments at halftime, and they came out with their adjustments and put it to good use.”
The two teams remained scoreless through the first 40 minutes of play with the shots tied at four apiece.
After nearly converting on Bacon’s first one-time feed, Waterbury connected on the second attempt. The game’s first tally was scored with 35:53 showing on the clock at George Brendler Field in Chazy.
“Ethan played a great ball in the first time,” Waterbury said. “Just headed it over. Second time, I wasn’t going to let it slip through my hands again. Just got a little lower and headed it in.”
The Eagles, who entered the game ranked No. 18 in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association Class B poll Oct. 27, maintained a one-goal lead for the next 22 minutes and 39 seconds.
Then, Waterbury struck again.
Hornets (10-7-1) goalkeeper Taoufik Maknani, making his second-career start between the pipes, played the ball with his hands just outside the 18-yard box. The handball gave Beekmantown a free-kick opportunity within striking distance.
Waterbury instinctively fired the loose ball into an unattended net.
“Well, I saw Taoufik just walking back, so I immediately just put the ball down,” Waterbury said. “No hesitation. Just shot (it). Great feeling, great win. A lot of credit (goes) to my teammates.”
Beekmantown held the upper hand in shots throughout the match, 12-9.
Matt LaClair accumulated eight saves. The shutout marked LaClair’s ninth on the year.
“He made a critical (save) right there at the end where, if they had gotten a goal there, it wouldn’t given momentum to Plattsburgh,” Loucy said. “He came up big on that save.”
Maknani recorded seven saves in the two-goal loss.
Plattsburgh High coach Chris LaRose said the final 40 minutes of play proved costly for his club.
“I would definitely say that they outworked us a little bit in the second half,” LaRose said. “I thought we were even in the first half, but I felt that we got a little gassed in the second half. But that’s a compliment to Beekmantown’s work ethic. We just came up a little short.”
LaRose graduates Garrett Frady, John Fine-Lease, Jack Tolosky, Dan Mihal and Maknani from a 10-win team.
“I would just like to recognize my five seniors,” LaRose said. “They gave it their all out on the field. I hate to see them come up just one game short. But I think Beekmantown will represent Section VII very well in regionals, and I wish them all the luck.”
With the win, Beekmantown will face the Section II representative in the regional semifinals at Schuylerville. No. 1 Ichabod Crane (18-0) plays No. 12 Schalmont (16-2) at noon today.
Loucy suspects his team will face Ichabod Crane, who has outscored its opponents 90-3.
“We’re pretty much assuming it’s going to be Ichabod Crane,” Loucy said. “They’ve been tied for first (in the state rankings) for awhile. They’re scoring a lot of goals.”
Beekmantown 2, Plattsburgh High 0
Plattsburgh High 0 0 — 0
Beekmantown 0 2 — 2
Second half- 1, BCS, Waterbury (Bacon), 4:07. 2, BCS, Waterbury, 26:46.
Shots: Beekmantown 12. Plattsburgh High 9.
Saves: LaClair, BCS, 8. Maknani, PHS, 7.