Haldane (12-6-1) vs. Section 8 champ Friends Academy (12-2-2)
When: Saturday, 12:30 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. Friends Academy — Jon Nierenberg, Sr., MF; Harrison Seidman, Sr., F; Liam Bardong, Soph., F; Saner Bendary, Jr., D; Brandon Rosenbaum, Jr., GK.
Outlook: After upsetting the No. 1 team in the state with a 2-1 OT win over S.S. Seward on Wednesday, it’s safe to say that Haldane won’t be sneaking up on anyone for the rest of this tournament. The Blue Devils proved that they can compete with any Class C team in the state, and what you really have to like is the way that they fought until the end. When Seward scored the equalizer late in the second half, it would have been easy for a deflated Haldane squad to fold, but the Blue Devils responded by turning up the intensity. That’s the mark of a champion. With the Seward defense focusing on Haldane’s top scorer Aidan Draper, Ramsey Hietmann was able to play the role of hero, and that is significant. Hietmann, Macdara Heanue and Jay Marchese have chipped in offensively to ease the burden on Draper, which is a trend that will need to continue if the Blue Devils want to keep this run going, because Friends Academy definitely has some firepower. The Quakers routed Southold 5-1 in the regional semis to get to this point and have three players who each had double-digit goal totals this season in Jon Nierenberg, Harrison Seidman and Liam Bardong. They seem to spread the ball around pretty evenly, which makes them a difficult team to defend. Haldane keeper Peter Hoffmann and his defense have been hot lately, allowing only one postseason goal in three games, so something has to give. If the Blue Devils can stay organized in the back and find some early offense, they’ll dramatically improve their chances.
Next up: The winner will play in the Class C state semis at Faller Field in Middletown next Saturday.
Photo by Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News