Story and photo by: Aidan Joly
In the playoffs, especially in soccer, anything can and will happen. This proved true as 8-seeded La Salle took top-seeded Saratoga to overtime on Saturday afternoon at Saratoga High School, but eventually fell 1-0 on a game-winner from Evan Farr.
Heading into the second half, both teams were looking to score after the first half saw no scoring and little in terms of shots on target. The game really started to be an offense-friendly game with 15 minutes to play, as Saratoga had a sequence of two shots right in a row, the first one going off the post from Peter Moller and the second one being stopped by the La Salle defensive attack.
About three minutes later, it was La Salle’s turn to nearly put one into the back of the net. John Gordon-Kapt nearly scored for the Cadets, but it was saved by Saratoga goalkeeper Alex Henderson to keep the game scoreless and eventually send the game into a sudden-death overtime 12 minutes later.
In the early minutes of the overtime frame, La Salle’s Sam Haita took a shot, but it was again saved by Henderson. Saratoga got the ball up the field in just about 15 seconds, resulting in a fast break from Farr that led to a goal and a Saratoga victory, advancing to the sectional semifinals.
“I just kind of kicked it as far as I could, and Evan just kind of just ran onto it and finished it,” Henderson said of the final play of the afternoon.
“I saw there was a chance that their backs weren’t getting back far enough, ball ended up bouncing over them, header backwards. I saw my chance, and I was able to run onto it,” Farr said.
The loss came as a heartbreaker for La Salle, as they advanced on penalty kicks against Ballston Spa on Thursday night and were looking to be the first Cadet soccer team to advance past the quarterfinals at the AA level in school history.
“I think mentally the other night helped prepare us in a sense that we kind of felt like we were playing with house money, getting to this point,” La Salle head coach Matt Michaud said. “I think we had confidence from that we could go deep, we could dig deep if we needed to.”
Saratoga moves on to the Class AA semifinals on Friday, October 27 as they take on either Bethlehem or CBA. That game will be played at Colonie High School and will begin at 7 p.m.