New York State boys soccer: Welcome to Middletown! A tournament preview, 2013

Welcome to Middletown.

For the fourth straight season, Middletown High School will play host to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys’ soccer tournament. The top 20 teams in five classes from all corners of the state will converge here to determine five state champions.

Orange County will be well-represented this year, as Monroe-Woodbury (Class AA) and Goshen (Class A), both of which won Section 9 titles on Faller Field a few weeks ago, will be among the participating schools.

Middletown’s contract for the state tournament extends through the 2014 season, but Section 9 officials are putting the finishing touches on bringing the tournament back for 2015-17, as our Ken McMillan reported last week.

Before I take a look at all the teams coming to Faller Field, here is some basic information you need to know about Middletown.

Tickets cost $8 per day. If you wish to park at the high school, a $5 fee is charged. Free parking is available at the Orange County Fairgrounds across Carpenter Ave.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat between games, there are plenty of options along Route 211 between Wisner Ave. and Rte. 17. There are a number of great options downtown as well.

The tournament is shifting to a two-field format this year, so there will not be any games played at Twin Towers Middle School. All games will be played at the Faller Field complex, which features a state-of-the-art turf field and stadium and an adjacent grass field on the baseball outfield behind the stadium. You’ll find times and locations below.

Class AA
Guilderland (16-4-0, Section 2) vs. Fairport (18-0-2, Section 5) 8:45 a.m., grass field
Monroe-Woodbury (17-1-1, Section 9) vs. Massapequa (14-1-2, Section 8), 11:15 a.m., grass field
Semifinal winners, 10 a.m. Sunday, Faller Field

Monroe-Woodbury's Bruce Jeter dribbles during the Section 9 Class AA championship game against Warwick at Faller Field. (John Meore photo/for the Times Herald-Record)

Anyone familiar with soccer in Section 9 knows that Monroe-Woodbury has a talented team. Yet it might come as a shock to the rest of the state that the Crusaders have advanced to the Final Four.

Saturday, Monroe-Woodbury beat defending state champion Arlington, at Arlington, in double overtime, 1-0. Bruce Jeter’s goal was the winner that snapped Arlington’s 35-match unbeaten streak. Click here to read my game story from Saturday afternoon.

Jeter (27 goals, 10 assists) is the Crusaders’ biggest weapon on offense, as he’s deadly on set pieces and as he showed in the Arlington game, he can also make things happen in the open field.

Monroe-Woodbury also has a terrific defense, as the team has allowed just eight goals all season. They’ve yet to allow a goal in postseason play, which includes shutout wins in the Section 9 semifinals and championship game as well as the Arlington win. Sophomore goalkeeper Patrick Feeley, who missed the Section 9 semifinal match against Newburgh Free Academy with a leg injury, has come back with two great games against Warwick and Arlington.

Monroe-Woodbury’s opponent in Saturday’s state semifinal is Massapequa, the Section 8 champion from Nassau County. Massapequa scored three first half goals in a 5-1 rout of Smithtown West in the Long Island Class AA championship game. Newsday has more on that win.

On the other side of the bracket, Guilderland is perhaps another surprise team in the Final Four. The Dutchmen, from Section 2, were the No. 3 seed in the Albany-area tournament, defeating No. 5 Albany High in the championship game, 4-1. Guilderland followed that with a victory over Baldwinsville in the state quarterfinals. The Times Union has more on Guilderland here.

Fairport, like Monroe-Woodbury, won in dramatic fashion in the state quarterfinals. Anthony Gaglianese scored from 14 yards out with 40 seconds remaining in the second half in a 1-0 victory over Clarence. Fairport heads to the state semifinals for the first time since 1998. The Democrat & Chronicle has more on Fairport here.

Class A
Averill Park (10-9-3, Section 2) vs. Pittsford-Mendon (12-3-6, Section 5), 1:45 p.m. grass field
Goshen (17-3-0, Section 9) vs. Jericho (13-4-3, Section 8), 4:15 p.m., grass field
Semifinal winners, 12:30 p.m., Sunday, Faller Field

Wallkill's Tucker Lundgren (21) is defended by Goshen's Andrew Wright (6) during play in the Section 9 Class B soccer finals at Middletown High Schools Faller Field Complex on Monday, November 4, 2013. Goshen won 1-0. (John Meore photo/for the Times Herald-Record)

It’s been a big year for soccer in Goshen, as the Gladiators are sending both their boys’ and girls’ teams to the state semifinals this weekend. That might cut down on some of the fan support that Goshen, about a 15-minute drive away, may have in Middletown.

But I’d bet that the Goshen fans, some of the biggest in number and loudest in volume in Section 9, will be out in full force for the Gladiators’ game on Saturday. They certainly were when Goshen knocked off the undefeated No. 1 team in the state, Wallkill, in the Section 9 final a few weeks ago.

Goshen won in dramatic fashion at Arlington just a few hours after Monroe-Woodbury’s win, with Colton Schaefer heading in the game-winning goal in overtime against Pelham. Check out my game story here.

Their opponent in the semifinals, Jericho, is the two-time defending Class A state champion. Jericho beat Sayville, 2-1, in the Long Island championship game on Sunday. Newsday has more here.

Averill Park has had a surprising season on the pitch, as the Warriors won their first Section 2 title in program history a few weeks ago. In regular season play in the Suburban Council, Averill Park went 4-9-3, playing mostly Class AA schools. They emerged as the No. 5 seed in the Section 2 Class A bracket and beat CBA-Syracuse and Peru in the opening and quarterfinal rounds of the state tournament. Head coach Sean Organ led the Averill Park girls’ basketball team to a state championship and a Federation title in 2010. The Troy Record has more on the Warriors’ wacky season here.

Pittsford-Mendon, on the other hand, is no stranger to the Final Four. They were runners-up in 2010 and semifinalists in 2009. Senior defender Nick Keneally has scored the game-winning goal in each of Mendon’s past two matches. Mendon has won six state titles in boys’ soccer, but not since 2005. The Democrat & Chronicle has more here.

Class B
Livonia (20-0-0, Section 5) vs. Westhill (19-1-0, Section 3), 8 a.m., Faller Field
Ichabod Crane (21-0-0, Section 2) vs. Carle Place (16-0-1, Section 8), 10:15 a.m., Faller Field
Semifinal winners, 10:30 a.m., Sunday, grass field

Livona defeated Akron in the state quarterfinals despite playing without top scorer Kory Zimmer, who missed the game with a yellow card suspension. Livonia and Ichabod Crane were state co-champions last season after playing to a draw in the championship game. Livonia has outscored opponents 97-5 this year. The Demorcat & Chronicle has more on Livonia here.

Westhill beat Oneonta in the quarterfinals, 3-1. Tom Kinsella’s free kick gave Westhill the two-goal cushion late in the second half as Oneonta was beginning to rally. The Post Standard has more here.

Ichabod Crane has received three state playoff goals from Diego Lezama to reach the state semifinals yet again. Last year, Ichabod Crane and Livonia finished as state Class B co-champs. The Times Union has more info here.

Carle Place knocked out Section 9 champion Rhinebeck in overtime in Middletown last week, as Nick Hytell scored with 10 seconds left in the second overtime period. The Poughkeepsie Journal has more on that game here.

I’m sure Livonia and Ichabod Crane are looking forward to a rematch in the state championship game this year, so that will be a fun one to watch on Sunday if it happens.

Class C
Williamson (18-4-0, Section 5) vs. Lansing (20-1-0, Section 4), 5 p.m., Faller Field
Lake George (20-1-1, Section 2) vs. Friends Academy (13-1-2, Section 8), 7:15 p.m., Faller Field
Semifinal winners, 3 p.m., Sunday, Faller Field

Lansing, which was here each of the last two seasons, returns out of Section 4. Like Goshen, Lansing is sending both its boys’ and girls’ teams to Final Fours. The Ithaca Journal has more here.

Williamson scored a late game-winning goal in the Section 5 Class C championship game against Geneseo to advance to the state tournament. The Democrat & Chronicle has more here.

Lake George scored a pair of first half goals en route to a 2-0 victory over Brushton-Moira in the state quarterfinals. This is the first time Lake George’s boys’ soccer team has advanced to the state semifinals, but the team does feature a number of players who competed on the basketball team that won a state title in March. The Post Star has more here.

Friends Academy has been a mainstay in the Final Four in recent years, clinching a spot in 2013 with a 4-0 win over Haldane last week. Haldane had defeated S.S. Seward in overtime in the opening round of the state tournament on Wednesday in Arlington. S.S. Seward head coach Bill Steele was very high on Friends Academy when I spoke with him last week. Newsday has more here.

Class D

Jasper-Troupsburg (16-3-1, Section 5) vs. Immaculate Heart Central-Watertown (16-3-1, Section 3), 12:30 p.m., Faller Field
Chazy (17-1-3, Section 7) vs. Fort Ann (19-1-0, Section 2), 2:45 p.m., Faller Field
Semifinal winners, 1 p.m., Sunday, grass field

Immaculate Heart Central of Watertown heads to the state semifinals for the first time in program history. IHC has outscored opponents 11-3 over five playoff games. The Daily Times has more info here.

Tyler VanSkiver leads Jasper-Troupsburg with 20 goals and six assists. They’ve outscored opponents 56-8. Here’s a scouting report on the team.

Fort Ann beat Smithtown Christian 1-0 in the state quarterfinals to make it back to the semifinal round. Smithtown Christian had knocked out Eldred in the opening round earlier in the week. Fort Ann is in the state semifinals for the fourth consecutive season. The Post Star has more here.

Chazy is the defending state champion in Class D and the Eagles have one of the best traditions in boys’ soccer in New York. Chazy beat Harrisville in the state quarterfinals, 10-0. They held an 8-0 lead not quite 25 minutes into the first half. The Press-Republican has more here.

In case you missed it over the weekend, here is the video from Monroe-Woodbury and Goshen winning in overtime on Saturday at Arlington.

I’ll be covering the tournament all weekend, so look for updates on the championship scoreboard on and on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.

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