Wallkill’s boys’ soccer team had been knocking on the door of the MHAL championships, losing in the semifinal round each of the past three years.
Tuesday night, the Panthers didn’t waste any time in finally punching their ticket to the big game.
Wallkill scored 1:54 into the first half and struck again in the 11th minute as the Panthers defeated Highland 4-1 at Marlboro High School.
Check out the video above for some highlights and interviews with Wallkill seniors Eric Acevedo and Patrick Valiando.
In the other semifinal, Rhinebeck topped Spackenkill, 4-1.
So there will be just one loss among the teams in Thursday’s 7 p.m. final at Marlboro. Wallkill is perfect at 15-0-0. Rhinebeck, 14-1-0, lost to Spackenkill one week ago, but has won every other game in which it has played.
Rhinebeck is the defending MHAL tournament champions. I covered their 1-0 win over Marlboro last year and caught the second half of their game tonight against Spackenkill. The Hawks have some similarities to Wallkill in that they can put tremendous pressure on the offensive half of the field and can score in bunches. They also responded well when Spackenkill scored with six minutes left in Tuesday’s semifinals. Rhinebeck subbed in a bunch of starters and made it a 3-goal game again about one minute later.
It should be a great game.
My colleague Justin Rodriguez broke some soccer news while I was tied up at Marlboro. Pine Bush head coach Joe Carillo has decided to step down after 22 years. He made the announcement after Tuesday’s 8-0 win over Monticello.
Carillo, who has been coaching for 22 years, went 252-124-26 and saw his teams win six Section 9 championships. His teams made it to the state semifinals in 1992 and 2003.
Check out more on this story in Wednesday’s Times Herald-Record.
I caught up with Carillo last September for a Q&A on the state of high school soccer. Check it out here.
The Carillo legacy will live on in Section 9 for some time. Carillo’s nephew, Jack Carillo, is in his first year as the head coach at Washingtonville.
The state rankings were released on Monday. Click here for the full list.
Here’s how our Section 9 teams have fared, including S.S. Seward being ranked No. 1 in Class C.
1. S.S. Seward
I’ll be out and about at the MHAL finals on Thursday and the Section 9 playoffs coming up in the weeks ahead. For live updates, check out my Twitter feed: @THR_Montgomery.