Clippers upset Wolves

ST. JOHNSVILLE – The Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville boys soccer team, scored first, dominated play and controlled the pace of Thursday’s Section II Class D quarterfinal game against Germantown.

Yet despite doubling Germantown’s shots on goal, the third-seeded Wolves came up on the short end of the 2-1 final score.

“Soccer is a game in which you can dominate the whole game and still lose,” OESJ coach Travis Heiser said. “I truly feel today is one of those days.”

The sixth-seeded Clippers advance to play second-seeded Northville at 3 p.m. Tuesday in a Class D semifinal at Queensbury High School.

The Wolves produced a number of scoring opportunities early in the match before Devan Battisti drove a pass from Andrew Hart past Germantown goalkeeper Rowan Dubois just over 10 minutes into the match.

OESJ kept the pressure on but the Clippers took advantage of a pushed up defense to spring Joey Steir loose along the right sideline. Steir sent a pass in front of the goal that Tyler Fuchs ran onto and finished to send the game into halftime tied at one apiece.

The Wolves continued to keep the pressure on the Germantown backline but could not capitalize on their opportunities.

OESJ produced a solid chance with just over 15 minutes remaining when Johnny Vicciarelli sent a cross in front of the goal that Dubois could not reach. Tristen Engle fought through a pack of Clipper defenders to get a foot on the ball and redirect it toward to open net. Dubois scrambled to dive on the ball, inches from crossing the line, for the save.

The Wolves kept the ball in the Clippers defensive zone, but came up empty on a header by Battisti and a close range shot from Anthony Dillenbeck.

The Clippers again capitalized on a counterattack against the pulled up defense, with Fuchs again finding himself one-on-one with Wolves goalkeeper Nate Trumble and finishing the play with the go-ahead goal with 4:30 remaining in regulation.

OESJ pushed for the equalizer in the closing minutes but were thwarted by Dubois’ play in goal and finished on the short end of the 2-1 final score.

“We came out early, possessed the ball and probably controlled the ball 90 per cent of the time,” Heiser said. “When we didn’t we got burnt. I credit [Germantown]. They finished the few shots they had. We had opportunity after opportunity with 24 shots on goal and a lot of attempts only to have their keeper make some unbelievable saves. They put the ball in the net and we didn’t.”

Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville finished with 24 shots on goal, while holding Germantown to 12. The Wolves also had a 8-3 advantage in corner kicks.

Trumbull came up with five stops in goal for the Wolves, while Dubois gathered in 16 saves for the Clippers.

“We still had a good season winning 10 games in the WAC, which I think is one of the better leagues in Section II,” Heiser said. “We are young and do not have any seniors on the team, so we won’t graduate anybody, which is a good thing. We are going to take something away from this. I always tell the guys, I hate to lose as much as the next guy but if we learn from our mistakes, and I think they will learn from this, mature a little bit, get better and get ready for next season.”