Lourdes manages the stress, moves on to state title game


GOSHEN – A potential state championship was not part of the conversation when Lourdes was fighting to stay above the .500 mark during the first month of the season.

Finding a way to win close games was the priority.

The Warriors eventually learned to play without any wiggle room and are now one win removed from a NYSPHSA Class B title after coming alive in the second half and dispatching Lewiston-Porter by a 3-1 margin on Saturday at Goshen High School.

“Early on, a sectional title was a maybe,” junior midfielder Anthony Geis said. “Everything after that has been a blur.”

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This is uncharted territory for Lourdes, which previously had never advanced beyond regionals.

Ned Van Loan stopped a penalty kick in the ninth minute and got the Warriors to halftime deadlocked 0-0, which is perfectly fine with this group.

“We’ve done it the whole season,” Geis said. “We don’t score a lot, so we’re used to it.”

It was the first loss of the season for the Lancers.

The breakthrough came 10 minutes after the intermission when Rowan King set up Alex Hooper, who curled a shot inside the far post and changed the momentum and the mood.

Lourdes exhaled and began to log more time on the ball.

“Rowan played an incredible ball, switching the field, right foot, over a guy’s head,” Hooper said. “I chopped the ball down, went through a defender, two of them, left foot, curled it in bottom left corner. The feeling was incredible. I don’t even know how to describe it. So much joy, happiness, bliss, all in one moment. I didn’t even know how to celebrate. I was just waving body parts wildly.”

Evan Cancro got loose for a goal, stretching the lead with 18:40 to play, but a penalty kick upped the level of stress before Dean Eljamal added insurance with 6:26 remaining.

What it means

The Warriors are just a short bus ride away from Middletown, so they’ll get to sleep in their own beds ahead of the program’s first-ever championship appearance. That’s a luxury. Nerves are rarely an issue for this group, which includes just three senior starters.

Story continues

Player of the game

Geis was busy scrambling to dig the ball out in the first half, then spent most of the second fueling counters and sparking the attack.

By the numbers

Lourdes (12-4-1): Alex Crysler set up the eventual winner, hustling to win a ball in the midfield. … Karl Menaua set up the Eljamal goal. … Van Loan made five saves.

Lewiston-Porter (19-1-1): Dominic Massaro converted the penalty kick after being taken down in the box.

They said it

“We kind of dig ourselves a hole in the first half, but they’re relentless,” Lourdes coach Roy Kievit said. “I’m never overly worried because I know there’s fight in them. We’ll make the adjustments we need to make and the boys will respond.”

“We might not score a lot of goals, but we do break through and we trust our defense to keep a clean sheet,” Hooper said. “If we play well, we don’t think anyone is going to score on us.”

“Ned is huge,” Geis said. “He comes up big in every game. In the Briarcliff game, he made those PK saves in the shootout and today he made the PK save. He’s the most important player on this team.”

Up next

Lourdes will play Section 3 champion Skaneateles for the championship at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at Middletown High School. The Lakers are going for a third straight NYSPHSAA title.

Mike Dougherty covers boys soccer for The Journal News and lohud.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or via Twitter @hoopsmbd.

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Boys soccer: Lourdes tops Lew-Port 3-1 in NYSPHSAA semifinal



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