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Boys Soccer Wins Second State Title In Six Seasons


MIDDLETOWN – Noah Lortie gets a lot of headlines, and rightfully so, for his goal-scoring prowess, many of them flashy.

Nakoa Zuger gets a lot of headlines, and rightfully so, for his goal-scoring prowess, many of them clutch.

But Lortie, Zuger and the Rhinebeck High School boys soccer team won its second New York State Class C championship on Sunday for one reason.


The Hawks completed their undefeated season and amazing run to a title with a 1-0 victory over two-time defending champ Lansing at Middletown High School.

“It’s the perfect ending,” said Zuger, who had the game’s only goal.

But it was Rhinebeck’s defense, led by goalie Brendan Hines, that fueled this run. Check it out:

* Won the Mid-Hudson Athletic League tournament title with a 2-1 victory over Wallkill. It would be the last goal the Hawks allowed for the rest of the season.

* Opened the Section 9, Class C tournament with a bye into the semifinals, where they beat Millbrook, 6-0.

* Won their third consecutive sectional title with a 5-0 victory over S.S. Seward.

* Began the state playoffs with a 2-0 first-round win over Southold.

* Won state quarterfinal, state semifinal and state championship games with identical 1-0 scores over Alexander Hamilton, Voorheesville and Lansing, respectively.

“I have to say, and I’m not being biased because I’m a defender, but throughout the entire postseason we were able to keep a clean sheet every single game,” Hawks defender Colin Murray said. “It means that the entire team, every single game, a full 80 minutes, all worked together to prevent a goal from coming in. It’s not just the back line, not just our keeper, it was all 11 players.”

Zuger gave Rhinebeck the one goal it needed midway through the first half when he somehow was able to corral a rebound in a wild scramble, turned and fired in what proved to be the game-winner.

After that, it was all defense, including a brilliant save by Hines with under a minute remaining to preserve the state championship.

“I am in just complete disbelief,” Murray said, “and it’s the best feeling I ever experienced.”




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