MIDDLETOWN — Having the Chazy and Hamilton boys' soccer teams opposing one another in today's 1 p.m. NYSPHSAA Class D championship game shouldn't come as a surprise.
This will mark the fourth year in a row the two have met in the Final Four.
The Section III-champion Emerald Knights defeated the Section VII-champion Eagles in the finals in 2008 before Chazy knocked off Hamilton in the state semifinals in 2009. Last year, Chazy edged Hamilton, 1-0, on Jordan Barriere's goal in overtime in the title contest.
"We know a lot about them and they know a lot about us," Chazy coach Rob McAuliffe said. "There's quite a history between the two teams and Hamilton has a great soccer program. It's going to be a battle."
The Eagles advanced to today's state championship game with a 3-0 victory over Section V's Alfred-Almond on Saturday at Middletown High School. Chazy took a 2-0 lead early on and McAuliffe was able to rest some of his players in the second half.
The Emerald Knights didn't have that luxury in the second semifinal. They scored on a penalty kick in the final minutes of regulation to pull out a 1-0 win over Section II's Fort Ann.
It was a tough loss for Hamilton last season against Chazy in what was a great game that could have gone either way.
"I'm sure they're looking for some revenge," McAuliffe said. "But, we're looking to win our sixth state championship."
Both the Eagles and Emerald Knights lost some talented players who took part in last year's memorable contest. Both, however, return plenty of talent as evidenced by both playing in the state championship game for the second year in a row.
"They lost some players from a year ago, including one of their best ones," McAuliffe said. "But, one of their players back is (senior forward) Drew Thompson, who is going Division I. They have good players all over the field.
"We will have to play well in order to win. But, I'm confident we'll do so."