Monday, November 8, 2010

Maple Hill vs. Northeastern Clinton preview

CASTLETON — The list of things the Maple Hill High School boys soccer program has accomplished over the years is lengthy.

The Wildcats have won 21 regular season league championships, 17 Section II titles and three times have finished the season as the best Class C team in New York State.

Maple Hill (19-1-0, No. 10 Class B, New York State) looks to cross another achievement off the list today when it plays in the first Class B regional game in school history against Section VII champion Northeastern Clinton (12-6-0) at 7 p.m. at Plattsburgh High School.

“Maple Hill’s tradition in soccer is really high and our expectations are really high,” said junior midfielder Paul Ancin after Saturday’s 1-0 Section II championship victory over Johnstown. “Our goal was to get to sectionals and win it and even though we stepped up to Class B, we did it.”

Maple Hill head coach Dan Gillespie pats Paul Ancin on the back after he scored the game-winning goal against Johnstown in the Wildcats' Columbus Day Tournament in October. (Will Montgomery photo - The Record).

Northeastern Clinton, the No. 3 seed in the Section VII tournament, upset No. 2 Beekmantown in the semifinals, 2-0 and then knocked off No. 1 seeded Plattsburgh High, the No. 4 ranked team in the state at the time, 2-0, in the championship match.

It was the sixth consecutive year Plattsburgh and Northeastern Clinton had met in the Section VII championship game. Plattsburgh had won four straight title matches over Northeastern Clinton prior to the Cougars’ 2010 triumph.

Northeastern Clinton is paced offensively by Jamie Davison (14-6), Dylan Carter (6-3) and Sean Harrigan (5-1). Goalkeeper Josh Rabideau has made 97 saves and allowed 20 goals while posting nine shutouts.

Maple Hill’s leaders are Steve Sepowski (10-8) and Jake Yager (10-4). Paul Ancin and Ron Radley have added four goals apiece. Netminder Derek VanAlystne has allowed nine goals and posted 13 shutouts.

Although the Wildcats found themselves four students over the threshold for admittance to Class B (Maple Hill had 309 students in grades nine through 11, according to a Bureau of Education Data Services figure) they do not feel like they are in over their heads playing against larger schools.

“We want to go as far as we can,” Ancin said. “I think we have the potential to go all the way and our group is really motivated to win states.”

The winner of Wednesday’s match faces the Section X champion Potsdam (10-5-3) in a regional final this weekend. Should Maple Hill win, the regional final game would be played at Guilderland High School, with the date and time to be determined.

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