VALATIE — Ichabod Crane hosted Schalmont last Wednesday, October 13, in a battle of boys’ soccer division leaders in the Colonial. The Riders came in as the 8th ranked team in the state in Class A, with just one blemish on the team’s record, an early season draw against Voorheesville, while Schalmont came in ranked 14th, with a one-goal loss to Voorheesville and a draw with Lansingburgh. By the time 80 minutes had passed the Riders had made a clear statement that the move from the Patroon Conference to the Colonial Council would do nothing to diminish the Riders’ plans for a second straight league title. The team posted a 4-2 win.
Both teams had their chances early, but less than 10 minutes into the game the Riders set up for back-to-back corner kicks, and on the second set piece they came through with the game’s opening goal. Senior Will Poetzsch sent the ball into the box, where it bounced around and came to rest at the feet of sophomore Justyn Verbraska who had his back to the goal. Verbraska was calm under pressure and back-heeled the ball into the net for the game’s first goal.
The Riders settled in after their goal, creating more opportunities while slowing down most Schalmont attacks. With 17:25 left on the clock Bernie Watt beat his defender down the left flank and cut into the box, drawing a foul and a penalty kick for his team. Poetzsch stepped up for the Riders and converted the kick, giving ICC a 2-0 lead. Less than a minute later Schalmont responded with a much-needed goal, as AJ Metzold slid the ball past ICC keeper Steve Domino off a free kick pass.
Again both teams put pressure on, but it was the Riders who were knocking on the door step the rest of the half. With under a minute left in the half Tyler Jablanski won a Schalmont goal kick and chipped the ball to the left where Watt fought off a defender and won the ball. Watt dribbled towards the end line and sent a pass just outside the box where freshman Seth Scarano placed a picture perfect left foot shot just past the outstretched arms of the Schalmont goalie for a 3-1 lead heading into the half.
The early action in the second half was back and forth and again, with the Riders striking first as Poetzsch used a burst of speed up the right wing to draw defenders before centering the ball to Niemeyer, who calmly slid it into the back of the net.
Schalmont came firing back, as Drake Sichak scored on a free kick with 17 minutes left in the game. Two minutes after their second goal Schalmont seemed destined to draw within one, when a Saber free kick was lofted into the box and headed towards the goal but an all out diving effort by Domino got a hand onto the ball and that deflected it onto the cross bar and cleared out, that saved propelled ICC to hold of Schalmont for the win.
In all the Riders out-shot Schalmont 13 to 6, while Domino made 4 saves in the win. Ichabod Crane got strong efforts from a number of players, including Matt Dellehunt and Tyler Jablanski, who were winning balls in the middle of the field all night long. With just three regular season games remaining the Riders are in position to win the league and gain a top 2 seed in the Class A sectionals.