KINDERHOOK – The Ichabod Crane boys’ soccer team hosted Colonial Council foe Schalmont on Saturday night that some spectators call the game of the year, in Class B. The game between the 7-0 Riders and the 6-0 Sabres lived up to the hype, with the teams battling to a 0-0 halftime score before ICC broke through in front of a raucous crowd early in the second half, securing a 1-0 victory in the only regular season match-up between the two. The win also means the Riders are the lone unbeaten team left in the league.
With ICC senior center back Derrick Fenoff out with an illness for his third straight game the Riders continued their quest to find the perfect mix on the field and the visiting Sabres quickly took advantage, putting a lot of pressure on the ICC defense and goalie Pierce Reilly. In the third minute, the Sabres lobbed a free kick into the box where Reilly punched it away without clearing it completely. The Sabres were then able to put a weak shot towards the goal with Reilly out, but luckily ICC’s Alex Niemann was there to clear the ball off the line and preserve the early tie.
The Riders had an early chance of their own when a free kick settled at the feet of Seth Scarano who dribbled between defenders and then with the goalie charging, tried to dribble around him for an open net, but saw the ball knocked away by goalie Tyler Smith.
As the half progressed, the Riders began to control more possession and take more deep chances on goal while trying to wear down their opponents. Despite the early pressure by the Sabres, ICC was able to withstand that and take slight control as the teams headed to the half.
The first ten minutes of the second half was all ICC as they dominated possession and launched deep shot after deep shot on Smith. In the 63rd minute Heriberto Gomez collected the ball for the Riders and took a long touch around a midfielder. Nearly forty-five yards from goal Gomez unleashed a low strike just off the ground that took a small bounce at the top of the box and with Smith either screen by a defender or in shock by the deep strike, froze, as the ball skidded into the far netting for the 1-0 lead.
With the goal, Schalmont moved into a more aggressive formation trying to find a way to break through. Even though they at times were able to get chances through or around the Rider defense, Reilly was there time and time again coming off his line to make stops.
The Riders, who utilized a handful of subs throughout the game, seemed the fresher of the two teams down the stretch after the Sabres had used just one true sub. Reilly was credited with just eight saves, but his impact on the game was much more. Anthony DeChance and Jimmy Hollister each provided excellent defensive games, Niemann was all over the midfield all night even after sustaining an injury, while Gomez and Scarano provided much of the offensive attack in the crucial win.
With eight games under their belts the defending state champions now have just six games left on their regular season slate before sectionals begin.