Panthers stopped 1-0 in Class C semis
ROTTERDAM — Having lost two key contributors to injury in its quarterfinal victory over Waterford-Halfmoon on Monday, the Mayfield boys soccer team was forced to make changes in its lineup heading into Thursday’s Section II Class C semifinal contest against Lake George at Mohonasen High School.
The fourth-seeded Panthers spent much of the first half sorting themselves out and the top-seeded Warriors capitalized, when Philip Shambo scored the game’s only goal near the midpoint of the opening half.
“[Lake George] came out with a lot more energy than we did,” Mayfield coach Jon Caraco said. “We were sorting thing our after losing two players the other night. “We were very aware of their attack and I think we almost gave them too much respect.”
With Josh Wasson and Colby Brandow both sidelined after suffering injuries Monday, the Panthers started slowly against Lake George, which is first in the latest state Class C rankings.
The Warriors generated several chances early, but Mayfield keeper Evan Lehr made a pair of clutch save to keep the game scoreless.
“I loved the way we started. We came out with energy and created some chances,” Lake George coach Blake White said. “Their keeper made a couple of great saves for them.”
With 27:57 left in the firs half, Lehr topped a shot by the Warriors’ Ethan Knauf over the crossbar.
On the ensuing corner kick, Lehr made a sprawling save on a shot by Lake George’s Colby Seguljic.
The Warriors continued their offensive pressure throughout the first half, outshooting the Panthers, 11-1 in the opening 40 minutes of play.
Shambo finally helped Lake George break through pouncing on a loose ball and sending into the back of the net with 16:50 left in the opening half.
The score remained 1-0 into the half as Mayfield looked to regroup for the final 40 minutes of play.
“We sorted things out at halftime,” Caraco said. “We moved the ball much better in the second half and supported each other better.”
The game was a much more even contest as both teams had five shots.
Mayfield’s Daniel Leach nearly had the game-tying goal with 31:45 to play as he headed a long throw-in from Garret Delaney wide left.
The Panthers’ best chance of the second half came when Dylan Bumpus received a cross at the right post and sent a shot toward the goal that Lake George keeper Mason Flatley saved to keep his team in front.
“The second half was a battle. We were able to withstand their pressure and pulled it out,” White said.
Flatley finished with three saves to post the shutout for Lake George. It was the 16th shutout in 19 games for the Warriors, who have outscored the opposition 100-3 this season.
Lehr finished with seven saves for the Panthers, who also lost 1-0 to Lake George in the championship game of the Mayfield Tournament on Sept. 15 at Galway High School.
“Blake [White] has a great team,” Caraco said. “Lake George has a great program and I wish them luck in the final on Monday.”
Lake George (19-0 overall) will face second-seeded Maple Hill (16-2-1 overall) in the Class C title game Monday at Colonie High School at 4 p.m.
The Wildcats topped third-seeded Stillwater, 1-0, in Thursday’s other semifinal contest at Mohonasen.
“Maple Hill is our archnemesis,” White said. “I’m hoping we can take care of business. We have to play our game and do what we do. It’s going to be a battle again on Monday.”
Mayfield finished its season with a 15-4 overall record.
“I’m pleased with the effort of these boys,” Caraco said. “The seniors that have been on varsity for three years have won three WAC division titles. We certainly didn’t accomplish all of our goals, but I’m very proud of this team.”