FREEDOM PLAINS They battled Solomon Schechter and both teams battled the wind. But, in the end, it was No. 1 Haldane that blew away the No. 2 Lions 6-1 Sunday to win their fourth consecutive Class C girls soccer championship.
The Blue Devils will return to Arlington High School Tuesday to face Section 9’s Rhinebeck in the Class C regional semifinals.
Junior Bailey McCollum scored twice and had two assists. Haldane (13-4) was never seriously challenged.
Schechter (8-7) largely played without all-section honoree Rebecca Landau, whose torn quad limited her to a handful of minutes.
Landau’s wind-aided goal with 14:14 left in the first half cut Haldane’s lead to 2-1 but it was 3-1 by the half and the Blue Devils, who had the gusting wind at their backs in the second half, pulled away from there.
At one point, the wind, which Schechter coach Ryan Garland termed a “huge factor,” took a Haldane goal-line-driven corner kick and carried it back beyond the 30-yard-line.
Haldane went up 2-0 early despite heading into the wind. Sophomore Hannah Monteleone took a feed from Marina Martin, moved left into open space and beat Schechter keeper Lily Hochfelder (12 saves) high.
The goal followed a diving save by Hochfelder on a Martin breakaway and a missed Lions’ opportunity as Britney Lefkovitz’s free kick hit the crossbar.
But Schechter’s opportunities were few. Haldane goalie Sara Labriola was credited with just one save.
Senior Allie Monteleone scored off a nice header and, after Landau’s response, McCollum scored on a penalty kick, awarded after a Lion slide tackle on a partial breakaway was ruled a foul.
In the second half, McCollum, Martin and Sara Jacoby scored.
While Hochfelder, a freshman who only recently began playing goal, had a chance at a couple of those goals, her second-half play kept the Lions in the game for quite a while.
McCollum (shown at right, dodging Lefkovitz, No. 7, with Claudia Franklin, No. 9, coming on) said this year’s team is better than last year’s because of its technical skill and team play.
Allie Monteleone helped create much of Haldane’s offense Sunday, winning loose ball races, putting the ball on net and hitting open teammates.
“I asked her to put the team on her shoulders this section championship,” Van Asselt said, adding, “I brought her up as a eighth-grader and never looked back.”
Monteleone, a three-sport athlete who couldn’t remember whether this was her 11th or 12th section championship, characterized this one as standing apart.
“It’s the last time I’ll be part of an organized soccer team,” she explained. “It’s a different feeling from the rest. I don’t have a next time.”
Notes: Landau returned to the field for the last couple of minutes, subbing for Hochfelder after the goalie smashed into the left post and was removed from the game. Landau had one save. … Among Hochfelder’s nice plays was an early-second-half grab in which she beat two Blue Devils to the ball. She followed that up 30 seconds later with a stop at the post. Her leaping stop of a McCollum shot about 90 seconds later led to a really nice save off a Haldane corner on a quick redirection and, soon after, she had a diving save. … Garland liked Haldane’s ball movement, saying, “They switch the ball back and forth very well.” … The Blue Devils hope to return to the state finals, where they fell by a goal last year. … While it was clearly better to be going with, rather than against, the wind, Van Asselt said neither was easy. … Allie Monteleone has also excelled at softball and basketball and has earned a scholarship to play basketball for Pace. Van Asselt links her soccer success to something that probably applies to her in all three sports — “her desire, her fire to compete at the best level she can.”