Their Tuesday game was originally slated to have been the Class C regional semifinal. But because of its long-term success, Long Island’s C champ, Friends Academy, was booted up to Class A, Haldane coach Gary Van Asselt said. Friends was supposed to have faced the Section 1 winner Sunday.
Friends is a private school and state athletic guidelines for public high school leagues allow sections to put dominant private/parochial schools in higher enrollment classifications. The thinking is these schools can draw from a wide area, while public schools are limited to their geographical district lines.
Friends leapfrogged B and was booted up to Class A.
As a result, the two local schools learned Monday that their Tuesday game would be the final and the winner would have Sunday night off.
That, as it turned out, is Haldane, although, technically, both teams have Sunday off now.
The Blue Devils, behind excellent ball movement and Marina Martin’s golden foot, beat Section 9’s Rhinebeck 6-3 to advance to the November 15 Class C state semifinals.
Here find my game photos, story and some extra notes. –Nancy
FREEDOM PLAINS When the season started, Marina Martin thought her Haldane Blue Devils, who had graduated 12 players, were probably looking at a rebuilding year.
Instead, Haldane is building toward a return trip to the state finals with a good chunk of credit going to Martin.
The junior (No. 9 at left in final-whistle celebration in top shot) scored four goals Tuesday as the Blue Devils beat Section 9 champ Rhinebeck 6-3 in the Class C regional final.
Haldane (14-4) will play in the state semifinals November 15 in Cortland.
“I can’t believe we’re going back,” said Martin, who scored three times in the first half as Haldane took a 4-0 lead.
Tobey Kane-Seitz scored to make it 5-0 early in the second half. But Rhinebeck sophomore Michelle Giamportone (at right with ball with Haldane senior Sara Jacoby defending against her) responded with her first of two goals on a booming free kick.
Rhinebeck had to use sweeper Natalie Hutchins (12 saves) in net after a first-half injury to starter Danielle Amidon (10 saves).
After Hutchins stopped a Haldane header, Giamportone got the assist on Rachel Tigges’s goal with 24:56 left.
Little more than a minute later, the lefty-booting Giamportone scored again, floating a long, high shot over Blue Devils keeper Sara Labriola (five saves) to cut score to 5-3.
“I was like, ‘Oh, no. We have to get that back,’ “ Martin recalled thinking.
And she did just that, scoring from in tight on a pretty feed from senior Allie Monteleone with 18:20 left. (Photo below: Rhinebeck freshman Olivie Lortie (r) looks downcast as Alzy Cinquanta , left, and Allie Monteleone, No. 10, hug Martin after her fourth goal.)
Rhinebeck coach Matt Grande, who praised Haldane’s overall ball control, singled Monteleone and Martin out, saying they were the two fastest girl soccer players he’d ever seen.
Time and again, the two were in the faces of Rhinebeck’s goalies.
And Monteleone’s pressure on defender Alex Dunn resulted in Dunn trying to punt the ball back to Hutchins but instead putting it high into the net for Haldane’s fourth goal 40 seconds before the half.
Haldane coach Gary Van Asselt said he knew Giamportone was capable of scoring and he wasn’t worried when Rhinebeck cut the lead to two.
“I told them to hold their composure and do the smart thing and play Haldane soccer – one-touch and two-touch passing,” he said.
Notes: With the loss, Rhinebeck fell to 13-4. But there seems little doubt the Hawks will rebound. Their 25-player playoff roster included just six seniors. … Of the 12 seniors who graduated from Haldane’s 2013 squad, six were starters. … Of winning the section and regionals this season, Martin said, “Gary always knew. I was a little skeptical.” This team, she said, has a different approach. “Last year was all about the drive,” she said. “This year, we’re so great at connecting our passes and we have more technicality.” … Grande said of Haldane, “Their whole team is great.” He didn’t seem surprised at the outcome, remarking, they’ve “been here 100 times.” … Down by four at the half, he said he told his players their goal was to win the second half, which they did, 3-2. That directive was apparently responsible for Giamportone’s huge excitement at scoring the Hawks’ first goal to cut Haldane’s lead to 5-1. She’s a very powerful player, who’ll be around for two more years. … Monteleone had two assists, the first on Martin’s first goal, hitting her on the far post. … Martin’s second goal came at 21:31. She was right at Amidon’s feet when the goalie bobbled and dropped a shot. Her 20:36 first-half hat trick goal came off a rebound of a Monteleone shot. … Monteleone is one of just three seniors on the Blue Devils. (At right, sophomore Lila Osborn takes a shot.) … It wasn’t clear what happened to Amidon but she appeared to be shaken up a couple of times before finally leaving with 16:20 left in the first half and her team trailing 3-0. … Grande indicated having to put Hutchins back in net for his squad was a huge loss, not because of her play there but because the Hawks missed her on the field. She’s a captain and acted like one after Rhinebeck’s “own goal,” telling Dunn she (Hutchins) should have raced out and grabbed the ball. … Kane-Seitz’s goal came off a corner after Hawk Jacque Miller stopped sophomore Missy Lisikatos’s shot. The rebound went to Kane-Seitz, who buried it. … Hutchins was strong in net and stopped a good header before her team got its second goal. … Martin just missed her fourth goal at 23:19, right after Rhinebeck’s second, when she tapped the ball just over the crossbar. … Martin’s excited about returning to states and about the prospect of a possible semifinal match-up against Holland, which edged Haldane 2-1 in last year’s championship. “We’re definitely out for revenge this year,” Martin said, adding, “I think we can win it all.”