Here is Nancy Haggerty’s story from Haldane’s big upset win in the regional semis:
LAGRANGEVILLE — No, it wasn’t a team of Peles, nor a team of big-footed giants.
It was the No. 1 Class C team in New York.
The emphasis is on “was.”
The Haldane boys soccer team, ranked 13th among the state’s C schools, pulled off a can-you- believe-it? upset Wednesday night at Arlington High School, defeating Section 9’s S.S. Steward 2-1 in overtime in the C regional semifinals.
Ramsey Heitmann’s goal off a perfect feed from Macdara Heanue sends the Blue Devils into Saturday’s final against the winner of the Section 8 vs. Section 11 matchup.
Entering the game, Seward was 17-1 and the Blue Devils 11-6-1.
“This is pretty good, beating the No. 1 team in the state. It probably says a lot,” Heanue, a sophomore, said.
Until Heitmann’s goal the only scoring had been via penalty kicks.
The PK was called when Zack Cuzo took Draper down from behind as Draper got away briefly on a breakaway.
At the other end of the field, Haldane keeper Peter Hoffmann made six first-half saves (Fuller had one) to keep the Section 9 champs off the board.
But that all changed with 15:47 left in the second half.
Haldane had picked up its game and Hoffmann had had to make only one second-half save when Haldane was called for a handball in the box with 15:47 left.
Hoffmann then guessed left and James Gardiner went to his right on the ensuing PK for an easy score to tie things.
That’s the way things stood until the golden goal, 15-minute overtime, which lasted just two minutes and 24 seconds.
Before Haldane notched the win, Hoffmann (who started playing goal as an injury replacement during the season) came up big, making a diving stop of a throw-in with the Spartan’s Devin Wood inches away.
“We dominated play most of the game,” Spartans coach William Steele said. “They played kickball. They capitalized on their breaks and we didn’t,” he added, describing Haldane’s strategy as booting the ball deep and running past Seward’s defense.
In fact, that was pretty much what Heanue did. He noted he intended his long, lead pass into the left corner for Draper but sprinted after it when seeing Draper slow, holding his back.
Reaching it, he didn’t hesitate to unload it, spotting a wide-open Heitmann smack-dab in front of the net.
“I try to find ways (to get open) when no one is looking,” Heitmann said, noting he ran right down the middle of the field.
Photos by Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News