No. 1 Bronxville (15-3-1) vs. No. 3 Blind Brook (14-4-1)
When: Friday, 5 p.m.
Where: Arlington High School
Key players: Bronxville – Sam Aherne, Soph., F; Matt Wagner, Sr., D; Henry Carmel, Sr., F; Matthew McCloskey, Jr., MF; JP Donohue, Sr., D. Blind Brook – Joe DiBerardino, Sr., F; Brad DeSanctis, Sr., D; Brendan Luke, Sr., MF; Matt Streichler, Soph., MF; Scott Wurtzel, Sr., GK.
Outlook: There’s a lot of history in this matchup, which happens to be a rematch of the 2011 section final. Blind Brook upset Bronxville – which was the defending champ at the time – that day to begin its recent run of titles. Now, the Trojans will be vying for their third consecutive championship, with the Broncos being the last team outside of Blind Brook to win it. To put it simply, these are hands down the most successful Class B programs from Section 1 over the last five years. Both teams have more depth than your typical small school teams, which is probably a big reason why they’ve come this far. They each had proven scorers up top – Aherne for Bronxville and DiBerardino for Blind Brook – but neither team is overly dependent on its top forward to provide most of its goals. That balance makes it difficult to mark either player. After a couple of close calls earlier in the playoffs, the Trojans got back on track big-time with a convincing 3-0 win at Irvington in the semis. Meanwhile, the Broncos are coming off of an OT thriller against Briarcliff. To me, all signs point to a classic. I could easily see this game coming down to OT or PKs because these teams seem to be that evenly matched. Both are traditionally strong defensively, but this game will probably come down to which team does the best job of avoiding mistakes in the back. Bronxville has a sophomore keeper in Joe Pepe, so they’ll have to keep things comfortable for him on the big stage. Ultimately, Blind Brook has been difficult to bet against in recent years, and that’s why I’m not doing it.
Next up: The winner will play Section 9 champion Rhinebeck in the regional semifinals at Arlington HS on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Prediction: Blind Brook 2, Bronxville 1