MARLBORO – Manny Blanco already had a feeling it would happen. The Spackenkill
High School boys soccer coach had his players picked out for penalty kicks.
Lo and behold, two overtime periods weren’t enough to settle the Section 9 Class B championship Saturday. Indeed it took penalty kicks to decide the champion.
The top-seeded Spartans were the ones who emerged victorious, 4-2, after staying deadlocked in a 1-1 stalemate with second-seeded James I. O’Neill.
“It was preplanned. We had gone over this in practice a couple weeks ago once we were headed to MHALS (the Mid-Hudson Athletic League tournament). We had our list ready to go,” said Spackenkill coach Manny Blanco. “It shows that they have heart. It shows that they didn’t want to end the season today. Our seniors stepped up, everybody stepped up — great job by all.”
Junior Travis Klipp scored the game-winning penalty kick to clinch the victory against the Raiders after the 1-1 tie was left unsettled.
“It was a tight game the whole way. I feel like we had the better chances, but (penalty kicks) are a lottery, so we’re just lucky we got through,” Klipp said. “When I was stepping up to take it, I knew I just had to bury it. I was confident and put it away.
“We had to focus more on ball movement because they were a very physical team. They work really hard and they have a lot of heart so we just had to keep the ball moving and keep it away from them.”
Chris Stamper scored the lone goal in regulation for Spackenkill, which improved to 17-2. Five minutes into overtime, Raider goalie Thomas Kwietniak made the save of the game: a full-stretched dive and a catch to maintain the tie.
“We took a short free kick. Kai Bjork kind of whiffed it and it fell to me and I just tried to play it far post,” Stamper said of his goal, adding that he has confidence in his team heading into the New York State regional tournament.
“We feel strong as a team right now,” Stamper said. “That was a good win that we fought out. I think it was well deserved.”
Spackenkill faces Hastings at 2:30 p.m. Wednedsday at Lakeland High School.
“We can’t take anything for granted,” Blanco said. “We have to work hard the whole way. There’s only two more games and then we’re in states. I think we can do it.”