After letting Samuel Nadell get loose in the box for an early goal, North Salem was forced to keep one eye on the clock.
And time did eventually run out.
Blind Brook celebrated a repeat Section 1 Class B title, hanging on for a 1-0 win over the upset-minded Tigers on Thursday at John Jay High School. The Trojans have not allowed even one postseason goal, so the pressure increased the second Nadell provided the lead eight minutes into the icy contest.
“They were very physical, so it was tough for me and Joe (DiBerardino) the box,” Nadell said. “We did get that one early and it set the tone for the game. I wouldn’t say I’m the best in the air, but I was able to move away from my defender and got to the ball.”
Jake Starr put the ball in a perfect spot from 30 yards away.
“I just put the ball in the box and hoped for Sam to be there,” he said. “He hit a great header. It’s such a great feeling to go back-to-back. … We didn’t really think about repeating. It was just one game at a time for us, and then when we got back to the final, it was just another game to win. That’s how we went about the whole season.”
North Salem goalie Tom Cole threw his body across the goal line, but really had no chance after Nadell redirected the ball. Blind Brook is a confident team with the lead. Trojans keeper Ben Seguljic has a habit of delivering shut outs in big games.
The Providence College signee has good people in front of him, too, and only needed to make four saves.
“If they can’t score, they can’t win,” Seguljic said. “Every game we’re looking to keep as much out as possible. It’s always helpful to have a bigger lead, but we all do our part.”
North Salem (11-9) only got a couple of high-percentage opportunities.
“We had our chances,” Tigers coach Ron Hendrie said. “They played really good defense. And they’re keeper was amazing. I think he probably was the difference. He’s a game changer. … It was a nice goal they scored. Unfortunately it was one of the few mistakes we made. We just lost a mark. He was wide open.”
Blind Brook (15-3-2) moves on to the regionals and will play the Section 9 champion at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Middletown High School.
The heavy snow overnight created some confusion about when and where the championship would be played. Before it was moved from Brewster to John Jay, the game was momentarily postponed, resulting in some pregame ups and downs for both teams.
“They weren’t aware of all the changes back and forth,” Hendrie said. “I told them (Wednesday), ‘Be prepared for a practice or a game. Be prepared for anything.’ I don’t think the changes were an issue. There was one notice that went out saying the game was postponed until tomorrow and they were really disappointed. And then a minute later, we were back on, and they went wild, cheering. That’s what it’s all about. They wanted to play. They were ready.”
The cold and snow, along with the scheduling problems only made the moment more memorable.
“It was a little mentally challenging preparing and not preparing, but eventually, we were told the game was on so we came out and everyone was hyped,” Nadell said. “It was cold. It was tough. And it was slippery.”