LAGRANGEVILLE — Horace Greeley goalkeeper Jordan Rosenthal was flawless for 80 minutes of soccer in the Class AA Section 1 final on Saturday night, which kept the upset-minded Quakers alive against top-seeded Arlington. But when the senior finally misplayed a ball in the opening minute of overtime, the Admirals made him pay.
That’s why they’re the defending state champions.
“He had an amazing game,” Arlington senior Will Ackerman said. “It was really hard to get the ball passed him.”
Rosenthal bobbled a Bryan Ashong corner kick in the 81st minute, creating chaos in front of the Greeley net. Ackerman emerged from the pack to bury the golden goal, giving Arlington its second consecutive section title with a dramatic 1-0 win.
“My fellow defenders told me to get up and finish it, and I wanted to do that,” Ackerman said. “I went in on the ball, it bounced around a little bit, and I finished it with the outside of my foot.”
With the Admirals dealing with injuries on their back line, Ackerman was playing extended minutes on defense, and he turned out to be the hero.
“We have a really deep bench, so when a player gets injured, we have a person to replace him,” Ackerman said. “Of course, Kevin Hoff and Pat Mogan are irreplaceable, but I think some players really stepped up and had a great game, including (goalkeeper) Joe (DeRosa).”
Ackerman’s goal sent the 14th-seeded Quakers home heartbroken, but they had the champs on the ropes thanks to a game plan that successfully limited Arlington’s scoring chances.
“The game plan was literally to put more pressure on them, as opposed to them putting pressure on us,” Greeley coach Bobby Herodes said. “It effectively worked because, by the time the second half rolled around, they were taking shots from 30 yards out.”
Herodes – who coached at Marist for 10 years and also coached some current Arlington players as youths – figured that if his team could keep the Admirals (18-0-2) off of the board, they would have about four or five quality chances on counterattacks.
“Half a second earlier, he had the right side of the panel, and he could have buried it, but he held onto it,” Herodes said. “He’s a young kid – a sophomore – and he wanted to get a little bit closer. What happened was the keeper took away his angle, and he’s a big kid.”
The Admirals threw everything they had at Rosenthal in the waning minutes of regulation, but he made a tremendous diving save in the 72nd minute to stop a rocket off the foot of Nick Moses.
“The way that we defended in this game, the only shots that we were giving them were difficult shots to make for a striker,” said Rosenthal, who finished with nine saves. “When a striker puts one on the frame, I have to make the save. Fortunately, I did make that save to keep us in the game.”
To get to this point, the Quakers (10-6-2) upset the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, as well as reigning Class A champ Port Chester, which was bumped up to AA this season.
“The amount of pride that I have for this group of guys is immense,” Rosenthal said. “In the postseason, we showed up. We beat teams that no one ever thought that we could even matchup with. We took the Admirals 80 minutes plus, and then they scored. What we’ve pulled off this season should be a testament to any team who doesn’t think that they have the skill or the players alone to take on anyone else. It’s all about the team effort.”
Arlington will play the Section 4 champion in the Class AA regional semifinals on Wednesday.
Photos by Peter Carr/The Journal News