Beekmantown hung with top-ranked Ichabod Crane in Wednesday’s first half, but the Riders got a goal early in the second, and with the momentum swinging in their favor, quickly grabbed a two-goal lead.
Diego Lezama netted both goals in a span of 5:05 to lead Section II’s Ichabod Crane past Beekmantown 2-0 in an NYSPHSAA Class B boys’ soccer regional semifinal at Schuylerville High School.
“They got a couple breaks,” Beekmantown coach Ryan Loucy said. “They just got a weak-side forward inside of our defense, and they were able to get a cross and hit it in the goal.”
The Riders (20-0) possessed the ball more than the Eagles in the first half, but Beekmantown was able to create some chances, too. The Eagles (11-4-1) came out and put more pressure on early in the second, firing two shots on goal in the opening minutes. But then Ichabod Crane grabbed the momentum.
Lezama, a senior forward, took a pass from Seth Scarano out front and placed the ball in the lower right corner of the net at 9:50.
“I was kind of nervous, but I knew it was my only chance,” Lezama said. “I couldn’t miss it. We worked hard for it.”
Beekmantown goalkeeper Matt LaClair made a nice save to keep his team within a goal, but then Lezama found some space in front and sent another shot into the net. Alex Niemann assisted on Lezama’s eighth goal of the season.
The Riders had outscored their opponents 108-5 heading into Wednesday’s game. Lezama said they didn’t make any big adjustments for the second half, but once they scored the first goal, that got them going.
“It gave us more control of the ball,” Lezama said. “We settled down a litte bit more, tried playing more of our game, which is playing little passes.”
Ichabod Crane continued to attack the Eagles’ net. They had 11 shots on goal in the second half, and LaClair made several tough saves. He finished with 13 stops.
The officials handed out multiple cards during the game, and Loucy said the Eagles had to adjust to the way the game was being played.
“They’re used to a different style of soccer than what we’re used to up at home,” he said.
Pierce Reilly turned away five shots to record his 14th shutout of the season.
Loucy said while the Eagles were disappointed that their season had ended, several players spoke in the postgame huddle about being proud of what they had done this year.
“We’re extremely proud of how we played throughout the year,” Loucy said. “Very pleased that we were able to win sectionals — (Northern Soccer League Division I) champs as well. Just a great season for this group. Very proud of what they’ve accomplished.”
Ichabod Crane 2, Beekmantown 0
Beekmantown 0 0 — 0
Ichabod Crane 0 2 — 2
Second half- 1, IC, Lezama (Scarano), 9:50. 2, IC, Lezama (Niemann), 14:55.
Shots: Beekmantown 5, Ichabod Crane 15.
Saves: LaClair, Beek, 13. Reilly, IC, 5.
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