PLATTSBURGH — The one-goal margin of difference in Chazy’s 1-0 victory over Elizabethtown-Lewis in Saturday night’s Section VII Class D boys’ soccer final at the Plattsburgh Athletic Complex didn’t surprise Eagles’ coach Rob McAuliffe.
In fact, he was expecting it.
Hayden Guay’s goal on a rebound in the second 15-minute, sudden-death overtime gave the defending champion and top-seeded Eagles the hard-earned win.
“I’m not surprised,” McAuliffe said. “I knew it was going to be a one-goal game decided in either regulation or overtime. I knew it was going to be a good game.
“It could have gone either way, but ended up going our way.”
The Eagles held an 18-4 advantage in shots, but the Lions were able to hold their ground defensively.
“We had to play the game against a team like Chazy with a defensive mentality,” Elizabethtown-Lewis coach Paul Buehler said. “We wanted to try and wear them down.
“We had to take care of defense first, even though we didn’t want to back in as much.
“But that’s what happened.”
The end came 6:31 into the second extra session.
Tyler Hicks sent a hard shot on net from the outside and Lions’ keeper Justin Lapier made a diving stop on it. But Guay crashed the net, got to the rebound first and sent the game-winner into the net.
“Their goalie was playing really well, but he was giving up some rebounds,” Guay said. “I felt the opportunity to get to the net and just let it go.
“We felt we would eventually make it happen, but we had to dig down deep in overtime.”
Chazy (15-1-3) outshot Elizabethtown-Lewis (13-6), 9-0, in the first half and held a 15-3 edge through regulation.
“It was frustrating not to score in the first half,” McAuliffe said. “I felt like we let the game slip away because we could have put away some goals. But their goalie either made a good save or we mishit the ball.
“I was concerned at the half because Elizabehtown-Lewis got better as the game went on.”
The Eagles still carried more of the play in the second half, but the Lions began to get back on equal footing in the overtimes.
“We did play our best soccer starting in the first overtime,” Buehler said.
Trent Blais recorded the shutout in the Chazy nets with two saves and Lapier was strong in the Elizabethtown-Lewis goal with eight stops.
“Justin has been a great leader for us,” Buehler said. “We needed to play our best soccer (Saturday) and he did.”
“Elizabethtown-Lewis is a well-coached team and well organized,” McAuliffe said.
It was a satisfying result for McAuliffe, who lost 14 seniors off last year’s state championship team and also this year’s leading scorer, Derek Drake, to an injury early in the regular season.
“We lost a lot of players from a year ago and I know some people questioned whether we could win the sectional championship this year,” he said. “I’m proud of the boys for doing so.”
Buehler, meanwhile, was just as proud of his team.
“The players gave a solid effort (Saturday),” he said. “We have three starters who weren’t playing soccer two years ago. And we’re still a young team.”
“Elizabethtown-Lewis is an improved team since the last time we played them,” Guay said. “We expected a hard game against them — and it was.”
The Eagles will play the Section X champion in regional play this coming Saturday in Plattsburgh. The time and opponent are yet to be determined. Section X hasn’t played its D semifinals yet and the championship game isn’t scheduled until Thursday.
Chazy 1, Elizabethtown-Lewis 0
Elizabethtown-Lewis 0 0 0 0 — 0
Chazy 0 0 0 1 — 1
Second overtime- 1, C, Guay (Hicks), 6:31.
Shots: Chazy 18, Elizabethtown-Lewis 4.
Saves: Lapier, E-L, 8. Blais, C, 2.