With Corning threatening Ithaca’s unbeaten season and pursuit of a state championship, the Little Red responded.
Junior center midfielder Alex Patz scored the game winning goal and senior midfielder Jared Brooks added an insurance goal, both in the second half, to lift top-seeded Ithaca to a 2-0 victory over the Hawks on Saturday afternoon in the Section 4 Class AA championship game at the Wright Soccer Fields in Oneonta.
Ithaca, the state’s top-ranked Class AA team, improved to 17-0.
“We knew that was coming,” Ithaca head coach Gilbert Antione said of the second-half effort. “The thing about our team, the boys are really calm, they stay calm. They said, ‘Let’s go get them, boys. We can do it.'”
Ithaca will return to the Wright Soccer Fields to take on Section 9 champion Monroe-Woodbury at 1 p.m. Wednesday in a Class AA regional semifinal. The winner advances to face the Section 1 champion in a state quarterfinal.
Second-seeded Corning finished the season with a 5-8-2 record. The Hawks joined Ithaca as the only Class AA teams in Section 4 to qualify for the postseason.
Patz’s goal came within 12 minutes into the second half. Brooks’ score came late in the game off an assist from Tristen Cornell-Roberts.
Antione said Ithaca had to get used to playing on a grass field, with its home games and most of its road games played on artificial turf. The Little Red also had to deal with a slant to the field in the first half, with Ithaca’s offensive half more level in the second half.
“They had better control with the ball,” he said of his players.
Hawks goalie Ben Terwilliger made eight saves to help keep his team in the game. Ithaca ended up with a 20-3 shots advantage and had nine corner kicks to just one for the Hawks.
Ithaca beat Corning twice during the regular season, 6-0 and 4-0.
“It’s postseason,” Antione said. “You’re not going to be facing a team that’s going to allow you to score a lot of goals. They came at the very beginning and they were solid. They put the pressure on us.”
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