SPENCERPORT – No one likes ties in soccer, but when it comes to family ties, that’s a different story for Fairport.
Senior Austin DeRidder and sophomore Pete Critchlow both have older brothers who played for the Red Raiders, and on Tuesday night they did the family proud. DeRidder and Critchlow each scored to help the top seeds repeat as Section V Class AA soccer champions with a hard-fought 2-1 win over No. 2 Hilton.
The Red Raiders (16-3), state runners-up last fall and winners of 13 straight matches, play Section VI champion Orchard Park in Saturday’s 5 p.m. state tournament quarterfinals at Hamburg. It’s the eighth sectional title for Fairport coach Gianni Bussani, who is in his 20th year.
“This feels great,” said Fairport senior midfielder Anthony Gaglianese, who was named the match MVP after assisting on Critchlow’s winning goal 16 minutes into the second half. “I love it.”
Critchlow’s brother, Hunter, was last year’s Democrat and Chronicle All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year. He plays at SUNY Fredonia now. Hunter is 6-foot. Pete is about five inches shorter, so it was rather remarkable that one of the smallest players on the field scored Tuesday’s game-winner on a leaping header.
“It’s because he’s a big fighter,” Gaglianese said.
Fairport’s Austin Diridder (9) and Hilton’s Jon Kyte (13).
Want some more karma? It was Critchlow’s first goal this fall and second of his career. He redirected Gaglianese’s free kick over goalie Brian Wilkin from about 15 yards.
“I saw the goalie coming and I just tried flicking it on and hope for the best,” Critchlow said. “When I saw it go in I couldn’t believe it.”
He wasn’t sure if he was offside, so he looked quickly at the linesman, whose flag stayed down.
“They beat us on the set pieces, unfortunately,” said Hilton coach Ken Krause, whose school hadn’t played in a sectional final since 1991.
Hilton (14-5) made a game of it in the first half. The Cadets had stunned Fairport, 1-0, in early September. It was part of a sluggish 3-3 start for the Raiders. “We had no identity in that first game at Hilton,” Bussani said.
The Cadets were trying to make Fairport nobodies again by controlling play late in the first half. They tied it just 2:34 before intermission on Anthony DeFeo’s 14-yard shot that senior goalie Joe Catalfamo got a hand on as he was diving but couldn’t stop it because of the velocity.
“Twenty seven years — it’s been a long time since we’ve even been in the sectional finals,” Krause said. “For these guys to make it? Last year we were 6-10. We had a heck of a season.”
Fairport had gone ahead in the 16th minute on DeRidder’s 12th goal, which ties classmate Tom Mousso for the team lead. It was an easy 10-yard putaway on a rebound of Mousso’s well-hit free kick from 23 yards. “I’ve just always been told to follow the shot up,” said DeRidder, whose brother, Mitch, graduated a couple of years ago.
But Fairport went into halftime on its heels after the Cadets tied it.
“I told the boys at halftime that Hilton deserved the goal. They were outplaying us. They were out-working us in the middle,” Bussani said. “I thought second half it was all us.”
“”#GetThatBrick,” Catalfamo tweeted a few hours before Tuesday’s match, referring to the Section V block-shaped trophy.
Fairport did — again.
“A couple times I got a little nervous but our goalie, Joe Catalfamo, helped us out a lot,” Gaglianese said. “We stayed calm and we fought through it.”