RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — The Beekmantown boys’ and Saranac girls’ soccer teams will represent Section VII in the Class B regional semifinals today.
The Eagles defeated Plattsburgh High 2-0 for their second championship in three years, while the Chiefs needed sudden-death penalty kicks to fend off Beekmantown to win their first title since 1995 Friday.
Beekmantown (11-3-1) vs.Ichabod Crane (19-0-0)
Schuylerville Central School, 6 p.m.
Fresh off its Section VII Class B championship, Beekmantown will challenge top-ranked Ichabod Crane, the Section II representative, in the state’s regional semifinal round at 6 p.m. today.
The winner will face Canton, who claimed the Section X championship by knocking off top-seeded Ogdensburg Free Academy, at a Section X site yet to be determined Saturday.
“The kids are looking forward to going down and playing against a top-notch team,” Beekmantown coach Ryan Loucy said. “We’re curious to see how we measure up against a team and program of that caliber.”
The Riders finished 14-0-0 in the Colonial Council and enter the game with a 19-0-0 mark. Ichabod Crane has outscored its opponents 108-5, defeating teams by five or more goals on 11 occasions.
Offensively, the Riders are led by Seth Scarano. The senior midfielder has accumulated 31 goals and 24 assists. Scarano has scored more goals individually than 14 of 21 boys’ soccer teams in Section VII.
Like Scarano, senior fullback Heriberto Gomez (20-6-26) and senior midfielder Alex Niemann (14-9-3) have also recorded double-digit goals.
Diego Lezama (6-7-13), Miguel Martinez (7-4-11) and Tyler Suchoski (3-7-10) rank fourth, fifth and sixth in team scoring, respectively.
“We’ve talked about playing disciplined in our defensive end and making sure we keep a body between them and the goal,” Loucy said. “Being disciplined is something we stressed throughout the week of practice.”
Ichabod Crane has been backed by senior goalkeeper Pierce Reilly in net. Reilly has faced 39 shots in all, saving 36 for a 92 percent save percentage.
Reilly has pitched 13 shutouts this fall.
“They have a very strong defense, and we’re going to do what we can to get around them,” Loucy said. “We know that their keeper has a lot of shutouts and that he’s pretty good. We’ll do our best to test him early.”
The Eagles are paced on offense by Alex Price. Price has scored eight goals and three assists during the team’s 15-game season.
Ryan Waterbury, who scored each of Beekmantown’s two goals in its sectional championship win over Plattsburgh High, has seven goals and four assists. Ian Pummell has totaled six goals and three assists.
“I would say (our depth) makes us difficult to defend because they can’t key on one or two guys,” Loucy said. “They have some guys who have impressive stats, so they’re kind of in the same boat.”
Netminder Matt LaClair has been the backbone for the Eagles on defense. LaClair has racked up nine shutouts and 100 saves.
“Matt will definitely have to play big,” Loucy said. “We know that they can get behind defenses well with their passing lanes and angles, and we know they shoot from far (out). So he’s going to have to be on his toes and get ready for shots from any and all angles. Our defense is going to have to do their part, step up and force difficult shots to help Matt out, too.”
Saranac (15-0-1) vs. Canton (14-4)SUNY Canton, 6:45 p.m.
Saranac needed 110 minutes and six rounds of penalty kicks to slip past Beekmantown in the Section VII Class B championship, pitting the Chiefs against Canton in a regional semifinal matchup at 6:45 p.m. today.
The winner will face Section III representative Marcellus (18-1-1), a 2-0 winner over Schalmont of Section II, at a site yet to be determined Saturday.
“We just got off cloud nine, but we’re ready to get back to business,” Saranac coach Mary LoTemplio said. “We’re refocused, and I know we don’t want to let any opportunities fall by the wayside.”
The Golden Bears reached the NYSPHSAA tournament with a 2-1 overtime defeat of top-seeded Potsdam Monday.
Canton is led by Kali Frank, who has totaled nine goals and four assists.
Emily Pinckney (8-3-11), Tori Daley (6-5-11) and Lauren Smith (5-3-8) have combined for 19 goals this fall.
“Canton’s style is similar to that of AuSable Valley,” LoTemplio said. “They play with three players up front, according to our scouting report. They have big, athletic girls on their team.”
Goalkeeper Katie Clemmer has proved to be a force in Section X, recording nine shutouts between the pipes.
“We just want to be relentless and keep firing shots,” LoTemplio said. “All week, we talked about possessing the ball and not giving it up. Our plan is to keep the ball on their end, take our chances and put the ball into the back of the net.
“We want to create quality scoring opportunities and not commit any giveaways. We always want to get low, hard shots. We want to get crosses into the box and put some pressure on from the get-go.”
The Chiefs have received significant contributions from a number of different players on offense. Ellen Thew leads the team with 22 goals and five assists.
Kayla Napper and Summer Gillespie have each recorded double digits in scoring, totaling 13 and 12 goals, respectively. Amy LoTemplio has added seven goals and 13 assists.
“All week, we’ve talked about possessing the ball and not giving it up,” Mary LoTemplio said. “Our plan is to keep the ball on their end, take our chances and put the ball into the back of the net. We want to create quality scoring opportunities and not commit any giveaways.”
Jamie Favreau, who helped Saranac secure its title with timely saves in overtime and penalty kicks, has nabbed four shutouts in net.
“With Jamie in net, we know what kind of kind of effort we’ll get from her on a game-to-game basis,” Mary LoTemplio said. “It’s going to take a legitimate shot on goal to slip one past her. I just hope she can keep playing the way she has all year.”