CRARYVILLE — The first snowfall Friday morning across the Capital Region made for a frigid Patroon Conference Championship Game for boys soccer at Taconic Hills High School.
Greenville took on Maple Hill to determine this year’s champion, after this last minute playoff tournament was put together and the Spartans prevailed, 1-0.
Both teams showed some fatigue early in this match up, likely due to the temperatures threatening to dip below freezing. As the players got their bearings, the Wildcats had a lapse in defense that gave the Spartans a clear shot at the net, but the ball went wide right across the box and out.
Greenville kept Maple Hill plenty busy in the first seven minutes with a relentless attack, and the Wildcats were playing on their heels. Looking to catch their opponent off-guard, the Spartans attempted longer passes now, but could not slip past the defenders.
Greenville kept Maple Hill keeper Luke Hoffman active as well, sending shots his way any time they had the opportunity. Hoffman was up for the challenge however, and made catches, punch-outs, and diving saves all over the box.
The Spartans were unsuccessful on multiple corner kicks in the first half as well, and the Wildcats’ defense was doing their part. In the final few minutes of the half, Maple Hill was finally mounting some offense, inching closer and closer to a score.
The Wildcats managed a late surge in the final minutes, but could not get a shot off before the halftime buzzer sounded.
Out of the break, Greenville looked to regroup after looking visibly frustrated at their missed chances in the first half. The Spartans got an early corner kick, but it yielded no results.
Each team looked for a small breakdown in the action they could capitalize on, but neither side was giving an inch of breathing room. Minutes later that chance almost came on a perfectly placed cross by Greenville, but Spartan striker Jack Motta completely whiffed on the clearest shot of the night.
Despite the Wildcats keeping pace on defense with relative ease, the Spartans were still the overwhelming aggressors on offense. Soon after, Hoffman made another big save for Maple Hill, but the ball caromed off his hands, landing directly in front of James Mitchell.
Mitchell would not be denied this time, and he punted the ball into the back of the net, a dramatic goal coming late for the Spartans.
With 20 minutes left in regulation, the Wildcats still had a chance to muster a comeback.
They pressed to keep possession and stay on the offensive, affording them multiple throw-ins and corner kicks. Unfortunately for Maple Hill, the opportunities were for naught, as they could not get on the scoreboard.
The Greenville Spartans managed to steal and clear the ball out enough times to disrupt any sort of momentum the Wildcats could build, and they ran out the clock to win the Patroon Conference title in a hard fought, 1-0 victory.