CLASS C REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Haldane (11-6-1) vs. Section 9 champ S.S. Seward (17-1)
When: Wednesday, 6:15 p.m.
Where: Arlington HS
Key players: Haldane – Jay Marchese, Sr., MF; Aidan Draper, Jr., F; Peter Hoffmann, Jr., GK; Johnny Rotando, Sr., D; Ramsey Hietmann, Jr., MF. S.S. Seward – James Gardiner, Sr., F; Devin Wood, Sr., F; Joe Pillmeier, Sr., D; Zach Biaso, Sr., MF; Craig Smith, Sr., MF.
Outlook: Haldane is starting off with the team that many consider the favorite to win a state title. S.S. Seward is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class C and has been playing lights out all season. The Spartans cruised to a 4-0 win over Webutuck in the Section 9 final in a game in which they outshot their opponent 24-4, which tells you that they left no doubt. They have a handful of scoring options, led by James Gardiner and Devin Wood. Seward showed how deep it is in the final, with eight-grader Jack Gardiner (presumably James’ younger brother) scoring twice. Looking through the Spartans’ results, there have been quite a few lopsided victories. The Blue Devils probably can’t match that depth, but they have some guys who have really stepped up this season. Aidan Draper is probably as good of a scorer as you’ll find in Class C, and he has all of the physical tools to give Seward headaches. Jay Marchese and Ramsey Hietmann have been providing support in the midfield and have shown their ability to chip in goals, but this will take a complete effort from Haldane, meaning that others will need to come up big. The X-factor for the Blue Devils could be improving keeper Peter Hoffmann. He was expected to be a defender this season – a position where he has played in the past – but he was converted to goalie and has had a great season, including shutouts in both of Haldane’s playoff games. If Hoffmann and the defense can keep it close, I do believe that the Blue Devils have the ability to put up goals, but it’s probably fair to say that a win here will require their best game of the season.
Next up: The winner will host the Section 11/Section 8 winner in the regional finals on Saturday. If Haldane wins, the game will be played at Arlington HS.
Photo by Ricky Flores/The Journal News