LAKERS FORCE WARRIORS TO EXIT EARLY WIN 2-1-BOYS SOCCER ACTION
# 8 Matt Martini and the Warriors chased the Lakers all march long. # 5 Sam Clymer heads up field.
By Pete Pagliaro
Playoff fever was evident in the quaint Village of Clinton on a cold, drizzly fall Saturday afternoon as signs posted around town celebrated playoff soccer and loudly proclaimed the slogan, “We’re All In”.
The Clinton Warriors Boys Varsity Soccer team would welcome the Skaneateles Lakers for a Section III, Class B quarterfinals match up.
Their playoff game would represent the 38th consecutive year since 1976 that Clinton has been represented in the post season and with it Clinton was carrying a 32 game unbeaten streak at home.
The Warriors entered today’s match on a major roll having won 10 of 11 matches, the other was a 2-2 tie with Proctor.
In a previous meeting, earlier in the season, the two teams sparred in a 1-0 matchup in which Skaneateles came up victorious, and the second time would be no different, as the 7th seeded Lakers would upset the 2nd seeded Warriors 2-1.
The game would get off to a quick start and turn into a defensive battle between the lines, but it would be Clinton who would present the first chance to score when junior Nick Williams booted a ball towards the goal, off a corner kick, within the game’s first two minutes of action.
The Lakers, not to be undone, came right back down the field as senior captain Tyler Strods blasted a ball toward Clinton keeper Max Huckaby who easily scooped up the rolling ball.
The Lakers continued to push the ball up field and found themselves with a free kick.
Tyler Strods booted a ball that curved around the front of the net and the bouncing ball found the foot of senior Ryan Danaher and then sophomore Jake Bailey, who scorched it past goalie Max Huckaby, for a 1-0 Skaneateles lead at the seventh minute mark.
Clinton did not to seem rattled by the goal and continued to battle in a very physical matchup in which the Lakers were appearing to key in on Clinton junior Gavin Gleasman, the Warriors record setting goal scorer who netted a school record six goals in a recent match.
Clinton, however, was able to battle through the physical play and get off a couple of shots towards the Skaneateles net, but not in.
The Lakers then roared down field and had a prime chance to go up two goals when Strods sent a ball the way of junior Nick Palmer, but he was unable to get there in time to get a viable look at the goal.
Skaneateles continued to bring the pressure, as Tyler Strods landed a ball in front of the Clinton goal after a free kick. Clinton’s Max Huckaby got a hand on the ball and then dropped it, as it skipped away with two Lakers standing nearby waiting to pounce.
Clinton, although playing on their heels after a series of good scoring opportunities by the Lakers, hustled back down field, and Gavin Gleasman had a prime scoring chance from in close, his low liner veered just left of Skaneateles goalie Billy Patrick.
Then at the 32nd minute of the match Skaneateles sophomore Sam Clymer found himself open in front of the Clinton goal after a pass from teammate Andrew Weiss and Clymer blasted a shot over the left outstretched hand of Huckaby and into the back of the goal and the Lakers took a 2-0 advantage.
Clinton made a run at the 38 minute mark when Gleasman was moving towards the goal, but a questionable hand ball was called that ultimately led to a yellow card and took the momentum away from the Warriors.
The Warriors came out in the second half with a lot of energy and quickly made a play at the goal, but were denied again by Laker goalkeeper Billy Patrick.
The hard charging Warriors found themselves in the box a few other times but were unable to do any damage, as the physical play of Skaneateles kept the home side at bay.
The Warriors kept pressing, and they finally got the break they needed when Gleasman threw a ball in that bounced around in front of the goal and Gleasman eventually made his way back in front and was taken down and a penalty kick was called.
Gleasman stepped up to face Patrick one-on-one and Gleasman scorched one past the Laker keeper in the 72nd minute making it a game at 2-1.
The remainder of the match was a back and forth battle that saw Clinton post several good balls, nearly knotting things up.
The Lakers also did not back down and continued to force the ball and keep Clinton working hard to get back on defense.
As hard as the Warriors tried they could not get the equalizer.
As the final whistle sounded it marked the end of the Clinton Warriors season, a season that was a success with a 13-2-2 record and 10-0 mark in division play.
The Lakers from Skaneateles would move on as the 7th seed and improve to 11-7-0 on the year. Andrew Weiss and Ryan Dahner both earned an assist for the winners.
Clinton netminder Max Huckaby ended up with seven saves.
Clinton Coach Gil Palladino, in his 21st year at the helm, was sad to see a promising season end on the pitch and the Coach told his kids that they “Had great energy in those final 20 minutes…and provided constant pressure.”
Palladino also told them, “You have nothing to be disappointed about…” and “We will miss our seniors on and off the field.” He ended by telling the kids, “We will learn from this and I am proud to be your coach.”
My Home Town Sports caught up with junior captains Jake Landry, Gavin Gleasman and Ben Owens after the contest to talk about the game and the season.
Jake Landry spoke of the heart that his team had not only for this game but all season long saying, “We played our hearts out and we left it all on the field…I love these guys.”
Gavin Gleasman added much of the same saying, “We played extremely hard out there in the second half, trying to get back in the game. It’s too bad we couldn’t get a few more goals, but I couldn’t ask for more from my teammates as they gave it their all today.”
Last was Ben Owens, who also mentioned that this team “Has a lot of heart…it’s disappointing and it hurts today, but we will be back. We are losing a few seniors and we will miss them, but we will be back and be back stronger.”
Coach Pallidino wrapped things up this way, “I told the kids to make sure they thank everyone who helped them along the way this year, especially their families, they work hard at this too.”
He added, “The toughest part is that we don’t get to assemble together to play another game together with this group, and that is emotional to think about. It’s a long time to next August, and we just don’t want it to end – ever.”
As coach said these boys have nothing to be disappointed about and they certainly played as if they were “ALL In”. Congratulations on a great season from MHTS.
Skaneateles 2 Clinton 1
1 2 Total
Skaneateles 2 0 2
Clinton 0 1 1