Colonie, NY — The Maple Hill boys varsity soccer team won their first Section II Class C Title in five years Saturday, beating the No.2 seed Mayfield, 2-1(Final).
After a scoreless first half, it would take an almost equal amount of time before either team could find success on the scoreboard.
With 8:59 remaining, Garrett Axtmann would do just that, after receiving the ball in the box from junior Alec Yager.
Mother nature, who held off for much of the first half, brought all her might down on both teams in the second with off and on showers. As a result, the all-grass field represented less of a soccer match, and more like game seven of the Stanley Cup finals at the Garden.
“The field made a difference in winning/losing the ball,” said Maple Hill head coach Dan Gillespie.
Not three minutes later, Mayfield’s Brendan Gifford tied things at one apiece.
“We knew right from the start that they were going to be tough on set plays. It’s where they score the most, and they did,” Said junior Bryan Kern.
As one player after another continued to slip and slide all over the field, Maple Hill capitalized. This time it was Kern who came through, making it a 2-1 game, with only three minutes and 21 seconds remaining.
“For a small person like him as far as height and all, he [Kern] plays really big. He owned the midfield and did a nice job for us,” Gillespie said. “You see it on TV with the professional games, in the last 10 minutes things happen, and it gets kinda crazy like that.”
“I’m just playing where I’m supposed to be I guess,” added the emotional junior. “I got a little lucky. It went off the kid’s foot and went right in. It’s absolutely amazing.”
With time expiring, the sun finally came out. Perhaps it was a beaming Bob Horan looking down and smiling at the kids he loved so much.
“We all know he’s looking down on us, he’s making us do things that we can and we’re all working hard together,” said Kern. “The last time we [Maple Hill] won a Championship my brother was a junior, now I’m a junior. It’s just amazing.”
The Wildcats will now take on a fast Lake Placid team out of Section VII, on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. The game will be played at Plattsburgh High School, a turf playing surface.