LAGRANGEVILLE — Replacing a goalkeeper is never easy, but when your predecessor won back-to-back section titles and was named The Journal News Westchester/Putnam player of the year, the task can be downright overwhelming.
As Blind Brook senior Scott Wurtzel prepared take over current Providence University goalie Ben Seguljic’s starting role, he knew he had to block out any outside expectations.
“Coming into the season, everyone was saying that you have to fill Ben’s shoes, but I didn’t really think of it that way,” Wurtzel said. “I just thought of it as, ‘I have to be the best me that I can be.’ I can’t be Ben, and I’m obviously never going to be Ben, so I just tried to be the best that I can be.”
Wurtzel had his coming out party on Friday night in the Class B final, shutting out top-seeded Bronxville in a 2-0 win to carve his own place in Blind Brook history and lead the third-seeded Trojans to their third consecutive title.
They’ll take on Section 9 champ Rhinebeck in the regional semifinals at Arlington High on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
“He was absolutely fantastic,” senior midfielder Brendan Luke said. “He made a bunch of critical saves, and kept us in the game until halftime. As soon as we went into the second half, I thought it was about time that we paid him back and put it away.”
The Broncos doubled Blind Brook’s shot total in the first half and forced Wurtzel to make six saves, including a diving stop on Henry Carmel’s header in the third minute to set the tone.
“There was something there in the beginning,” Wurtzel said. “I made that first save on the header and something just clicked, and it’s been clicking all game. I just felt sharp. It was good.”
The Trojans (15-4-1) rewarded Wurtzel for a spectacular first half in the 54th minute when Jeff Visoky drew the defense to the center of the box and made a clever wide pass to Luke, who buried his shot for a 1-0 lead.
“We kept pressuring the defense,” Luke said. “Jeff had the ball wide open in front of the net. He could have probably been selfish and shot it, but he saw me, threaded the needle and I had a wide open net in front of me.”
Bronxville (15-4-1) continued to apply pressure after the goal – particularly with long throw-ins from Matt Wagner – but Wurtzel was up to the task.
In the 78th minute, Joe DiBerardino sealed the win with a goal off of a deflection in front of the net.
Despite putting just five shots on goal, Blind Brook was able to capitalize on two of them. The Broncos put 11 shots on goal, but each was stopped by Wurtzel.
“We’re three-dimensional,” DiBerardino said when asked to compare this year’s Trojans to the previous two championship teams. “We have players scoring from all around the field. There are multiple players with five or six goals, and that just contributes to us coming together as a team and playing collectively. In the past, we’re really been a one-dimensional team. Two years ago, it was Lucas (McBride), and last year it was really Ben who held us down. This year, it was everyone coming together.”
Photos by Peter Carr/The Journal News