CLASS B REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Blind Brook (15-4-1) vs. Section 9 champ Rhinebeck (17-2)
When: Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Where: Arlington HS
Key players: Blind Brook – Joe DiBerardino, Sr., F; Brad DeSanctis, Sr., D; Brendan Luke, Sr., MF; Matt Streichler, Soph., MF; Scott Wurtzel, Sr., GK. Rhinebeck – Seth McClenahan, Sr. F; Nick Hoynes, Sr., F; Andy Rosenzweig, Jr., MF; Brandt Slayton, Jr., MF; Conor Bolton, Sr., D.
Outlook: In its first season as a Class B team, Rhinebeck captured a Section 9 championship. The Hawks won a title in Class C last season before knocking out Section 1 champ Solomon Schechter in the regional semis, but the Class B field will be a tougher mountain to climb. With that being said, this Rhinebeck team has looked very sharp this season. It had a stretch of 15 straight wins and avenged a loss from earlier in the season by beating Spackenkill in the section final. I spoke to our buddy Phil Strum from the Poughkeepsie Journal, who has seen Rhinebeck play a few times this year, and he described the Hawks as being “very fast and skilled.” Seth McClenahan is their go-to scorer, and Phil said that he could be the best player in Dutchess county – which would include players from teams like Arlington, John Jay-EF and Ketcham. He’ll be a prime candidate for Blind Brook to mark, and he usually plays up top with Nick Hoynes to give him someone to work off of. I was also told that keeper Eric Rodriguez has had a strong season. The Trojans wouldn’t be described as the most skilled team in the state, but they play a style that has bred success and led to three straight section titles. They are often outshot and out-possessed – as they were in the final against Bronxville on Friday – but they play great defense and have a knack for capitalizing on the scoring opportunities that they do get. Of the five shots on goal that Blind Brook took against the Broncos, they converted on two of them, which is a great percentage. Joe DiBerardino, Brendan Luke and Matt Streichler have been the main scoring options of late, but this whole team plays with a tenacity that leads to quality chances. The wild card recently has been Scott Wurtzel in goal. He played a tremendous game in the section final, finishing with 11 saves, which gives the Trojans that confidence that they can keep any game close. Blind Brook has been to this point before, so there should be a certain level of comfort on this stage. Neither of the past two section championship teams were able to win regional titles, so this group has a chance to carve its own niche if it can get it done.
Next up: The winner will host the Section 11/Section 8 winner in the regional final on Saturday. If Blind Brook wins, the game will be played at Arlington HS.
Photo by Peter Carr/The Journal News