CLASS A REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Pelham (14-5-1) vs. Section 4 champ Vestal (14-3-1)
When: Wednesday, 1:15 p.m.
Where: Hall of Fame Fields in Oneonta
Key players: Pelham – Charlie Livingstone, Sr., MF; Aidan Murray, Sr., F; Otavio Basso, Jr., D; Jefferson Santos, Sr., MF; Eddie Livingstone, Jr., MF. Vestal – Josh Wlostowski, Sr., F; James McIntosh, Sr., MF; Dakota Desantis, Sr., MF; Ray Lata, Sr., D; Tyler Hinds, Sr., GK.
Outlook: It may be stating the obvious that each of these section champions are playing well, but it’s especially the case for these two teams. Pelham has rattled off 11 straight wins since getting a few key players back from injury, and Vestal is coming off a 2-0 win in the Section 4 final over the same Corning team that it had lost to earlier in the season. They are each peaking, which should make for a great game. The formula for Pelham to get to this point has been simple. Aidan Murray and Charlie Livingstone have been the most lethal forward-midfielder combo in Section 1, and they assisted to each other on the game-winners in the quarters, semis and final. Other teams know what’s coming and still can’t stop it. A big reason for that is that the Pelicans have been getting more creative with how they use their top two players. Murray is traditionally a striker who plays up top, but coach Terence Huvane has been moving him side-to-side, and even pushing him into the midfield to make it difficult for opposing teams to mark him. When Murray is playing near the midfield, it’s usually been Livingstone who has been playing up top, and this versatility has been able to keep defenses honest. The role players for Pelham have also settled in nicely since Murray returned from an ankle injury. Jefferson Santos, Eddie Livingstone (Charlie’s younger brother) and Ricarti Basso have been dominating the middle of the field and providing a ton of energy, so this isn’t a two-man show. Keeper Vin Mazzarro has also pitched three shutouts in a row, so everyone seems to be playing well. Based on what I’ve read about Vestal, the Golden Bears have been contributions from all over. It’s hard to pinpoint one player as their top scorer, because it seems to be someone different in each game. If I had to pick just one, Josh Wlostowski’s name has come up in many of the box scores that I’ve been able to find, but it doesn’t look like there is one prime candidate for Pelham to mark. The Pelicans defense has been great since the return of Otavio Basso, and they’ll probably play this one straight up. Vestal comes into the game ranked 11th in the state, but Pelham has jumped up to seventh.
Next up: The winner will host Section 9 champ Goshen in the regional final on Saturday. If Pelham wins, the game will be held at Arlington HS.
Photo by Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News (I figured the Pelham guys would appreciate that one…)