Lansing is hoping the third time is the charm.
The Bobcats boys’ soccer team is headed back to the state Class C semifinals for the third consecutive season after Saturday’s convincing 4-0 defeat of Fabius-Pompey at Liverpool High’s LHS Stadium. Lansing scored twice in each half and dominated possession in winning for the 19th time in 20 games this fall.
Coach Adam Heck’s squad will take on Williamson, the Section 5 champion, which ousted International Prep at Grover, 4-1, Saturday at Eastridge High in the Western New York regional. The Lansing-williamson game will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday at Middletown High’s Faller Field; the winner will advance to Sunday’s state final.
Lansing’s girls’ team is also headed to the semifinals, after blanking upstart Beaver River, 2-0, in their regional contest at Norwich High.
“Unfinished business,” Lansing boys coach Adam Heck said, referring to his team’s two previous trips to the championship round. “There’s still a motivational factor there of trying to get the ultimate prize. And our girls are going, too … we are very, very proud of our soccer program.”
Lansing’s boys advanced to the state semifinals in 2011 before being eliminated by eventual champion Port Jefferson, 1-0; last year, the Bobcats met those same Royals in the Class C title game, and again were on the losing end of a 1-0 final score. Both goals were scored by 6-3 striker Blake Bohlen, both midway through the second half.
Lansing got on the board Saturday with an own goal in the fifth minute, as Falcons senior sweeper Ryan LeRoy inadvertently redirected a Donovan Baird header past F-P keeper Nate Scalisi (6 saves). Then 20 minutes later, Lansing junior defender Sam Drake chested a ball home during a goalmouth scramble to put the Bobcats ahead by two.
“In these games, getting the first goal is huge, as we’ve found out the last couple of years,” Heck said.
Lansing carried the play throughout, denying Falcons scoring leader Stewart Wright — who had 19 goals this season — any room to operate. Shots in the first period were 15-2 in favor of Lansing, with both of F-P’s shots coming from long range off the foot of burly senior midfielder Ben Rotondo.
Lansing scoring leader Jason Yahn converted a penalty kick just past the midway point of the second half after he was taken down in the box by LeRoy. And senior midfielder Andy Parkes scored an unlikely goal with 1:45 to play, his cross from deep in the left corner curling high over Scalisi’s head and tucking into the far corner of the net.
The Bobcats outshot the Falcons for the game, 20-8, with most of the F-P shots coming from distance. Lansing junior keeper Bryce Stanhope was rarely tested and finished with three saves.
Lansing’s girls’ team, the top-ranked Class C team in the state, improved to 19-0 with the victory. They will take on Haldane — which eliminated Friends Academy in penalty kicks — in the state semis next Saturday at SUNY Cortland.