Reprinted with permission from the Times Union
KINDERHOOK – Ichabod Crane boys’ soccer coach Mike Young had no trepidation about offering blunt criticism to his players during the November 4, regional final, even as they enjoyed total control.
Young may be a first-year head coach. And his team may have poured on more than enough goals late in the first half. But he wants these Riders to stick to their season-long convictions of wanting to ride well past another Class B state semifinal berth.
That was earned with a hearty 4-0 win against Section VII’s Saranac in the regional final. Three goals were scored in the opening half’s final 20:35, including an ultra-rare buzzer-beater. Even then, Young — who missed Anthony Carlucci’s goal as he prepared his halftime talk — turned back toward the field and focused his direction on how to best line up for the ensuing kickoff, after a second was placed back on the clock.
“Our biggest fear is complacency,” Young said, adding, “I think this group is a little different than groups in the past. They want to be outright champions this year.”
Ichabod Crane (19-0-1) sure looked like one in a five-minute span. Justin Meza, a defender, blasted a long pass to Logan Groat, who corralled it about 15 feet from the goalie and blasted a strong shot with 20:35 left in the opening half.
Groat, the team’s top offensive threat, dealt with a calf injury for much of the game. He had plenty of support, though.
Kevin Winglosky made a swift move at the 16-minute mark and left a perfect ball for Gio Gomez, who poked a left-footed shot to the near side for a 2-0 lead.
That appeared to be more than enough for a team that hasn’t given up a goal in about a month.
Young could still offer firm-but-fair feedback. And he’s not afraid of having some fun.
He notes that every player this year has started at least one game. Late, he brought in several young substitutes and noted the expectations were the same as if the game had just started.
Ichabod Crane went to the state semis last year before losing to eventual champion Hastings, 2-1.
“We have unfinished business we need to take care of,” Carlucci said. “A state championship is our goal.”
Carlucci said the team has focused this year on crisper ball possession, and defense.
Those aspects being better this year have allowed for a stronger offensive attack.
Carlucci made it 3-0 right at the end of the first half, accepting a throw-in pass that drifted right to him about 20 feet from the goal. His shot was fired just as some fans were doing a countdown.
His instinctive celebration was to run around, pointing at his wrist — as if he were wearing a watch.
Time knows no boundaries for this team.
“They’re always trying to score,” Young said. “That’s a credit to the guys. They work hard.”
Gomez added his second goal with about five minutes left. Young sent in a few more subs, and offered the same pointed directions.
“From the first guy to the 25th, we need everyone to be playing their best this time of year,” Young said.
To contact reporter Jason Franchuk email moc.n1524254677oinus1524254677emit@1524254677kuhcn1524254677arfj1524254677