LAGRANGEVILLE — Time after time in the first half of Saturday’s Class C regional final, Friends Academy senior defender Patrick Moodhe launched towering throws into the Haldane box.
The Blue Devils knew it was coming, but there was little that they could do to stop it.
“Those were amazing,” Haldane senior midfielder Jay Marchese said. “Our guy Johnny (Rotando) has a big throw, but (Moodhe) was like doubling it. He was putting it on the back post and those kids just got up and got in (goalkeeper Peter) Hoffmann’s way. That was the main key to their goals.”
The Quakers scored three first half goals off of Moodhe throw-ins en route to a 4-0 win over Haldane, sending the Section 8 champs to next weekend’s state semifinals at Faller Field in Middletown.
“It’s definitely helped us out in most games this season,” Moodhe said of his throws. “We were just trying to exploit the other team’s weaknesses and try to be as aggressive as possible. Get as many chances (as we can) in the box and make something out of it.”
Friends Academy (13-2-2) struck quickly, with Andrew Stingi scoring off of a Moodhe throw in the fifth minute.
Harry Nicholas was on the receiving end of a Moodhe toss in the 25th minute to make it 2-0, and then Max Heffron cleaned up a throw that caused chaos in front of the Haldane goal in the 29th minute.
“By far,” Marchese said when asked if Friends Academy was the best team that Haldane had seen all year. “We knew they were going to be good, but they really surprised me. They were amazing.”
The Quakers had several other opportunities, but Hoffmann made six of his nine saves in the first half to help the Blue Devils (12-7-1) keep it from getting completely out of hand.
“It could have been 8-0, really,” Haldane coach Ahmed Dwidar said. “He made some huge saves for us. He’s a big guy, and he’s a junior still, so he’ll be back next year.”
While key players such as Marchese and Rotando will graduate, much of Haldane’s core will be back in 2014, led by Hoffmann and leading scorer Aidan Draper.
“It’s been amazing,” Marchese said. “It was a great run. I’m sad to see that it’s over, but we beat the No. 1 team in the state (S.S. Seward) and won sectionals against our rival Schechter. I hope they can get back next year.”
Photo by Frank Becerra Jr / The Journal News