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Northern Adirondack boys celebrate after scoring in the second half of their Class C soccer quarterfinal at PHS. The Bobcats made it stand up for a 1-0 win over Maple Hill.

PLATTSBURGH -- It took just one scoring opportunity -- and some solid defense -- for Northern Adirondack to pull off a 1-0 upset of Section II's Maple Hill in the NYSPHSAA Class C boys' soccer quarterfinals on Saturday.

Spencer Ferguson knocked in a Tyler LaValley pass at 18:42 of the second half to record the game's lone goal, sending the Bobcats into the state semifinals.

"They outshot us, 12-6, but I can only remember two shots when they really had a chance, and we only had one," NAC coach Pete Kowalowski said. "When we got a chance, we got a free ball at the 18 and Spencer put it in."

The No. 14-ranked Bobcats (10-7-4) overcame early pressure by the fifth-ranked Wildcats (19-3-1), yet were unable to get the ball near the net for most of the first half.

However, the Section VII champions played solid defense, clearing the ball when necessary and wearing its opposition down.

Once the Bobcats got the one-goal lead, it became a matter of wearing down the clock.

"We've been pretty much a vertical team for the most part this season," Kowalowski said.

"We tried to work on more vertical stuff. I think we frustrated them a little -- we were limiting their shots to the outside."

Northern Adirondack goaltender Tyler Mesec made eight saves in the game, including two close shots on a late Wildcat surge.

Maple Hill's Jamie Schultz, who led Section II in scoring this season, had an opportunity to tie the game near the end of the second half, but Mesac made a big save to keep the NAC lead alive.

"Tyler came up big for us," Kowalowski said. "He's been doing that all year for us and he's only a sophomore. He's a very good keeper."

The Bobcats' coach admitted he was surprised at how his team fared in the game, referring to the upset as the "University of Vermont versus Syracuse" variety.

"We're from a small area," he said. "I expected us to be competitive, but never in a million years would I have thought we'd play as well as we did."

Kowalowski said he expects the competition to only get tougher as the team advances in the playoffs, but acknowledged what his hard-nosed team is capable of.

"We're looking to do the same kind of stuff and be competitive," he said. "Maybe other teams have more players with skill because they are from a bigger area, but you can't outwork us."

NAC will take on Section V representative Red Creek at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Oneonta's National Hall of Fame field.

Fabius-Pompey (Section III) will take on North Salem (Section I) in the other Class C semifinal at the Hall of Fame field, also at 10:30 a.m.

--

NAC 1, Maple Hill 0

Maple Hill 0 0 -- 0

Northern Adirondack 0 1 -- 1

Second half- 1, NAC, Ferguson (T. LaValley), 18:42.

Shots: Maple Hill 12, NAC 6.

Saves: Mesec, NAC, 8. Papas, MH, 3.

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