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TO THE ‘CHIP! RHINEBECK BOYS, MOUNT BOYS WIN

Hawks To Play For Class C Title, Eagles Go For Class D Crown

 

By Jack McElduff
Special to HVSR

MIDDLETOWN – Over the past several years, the Rhinebeck High School boys soccer team has built a reputation as one of the strongest teams in the area.

That trend has continued in 2019, and on Sunday the Hawks will get a chance to reign supreme across all of New York State.

Noah Lortie scored the only goal on Saturday and Rhinebeck recorded a 1-0 victory over Section 2’s Voorheesville in a Class C state semifinal at Middletown High School.

Rhinebeck will now face Lansing, out of Section 4, in the Class C state title game Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Middletown High. The teams have a history – the Hawks won 2-1 in a state semifinal en route to the championship back in 2014.

Mount Academy also won its semifinal game in Class D, knocking off Chazy 2-1.

Lortie scored in the 23rd minute, a beautiful strike that ultimately decided the game.

“It feels amazing,” Lortie said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, and for it to finally pay off really feels good.”

Head coach Justin Wiesenthal echoed the sentiment.

“The guys put so much work into this season,” Wiesenthal said. “It’s really a testament to their hard work.”

Backed by a strong showing from the Rhinebeck faithful on a frigid morning in Middletown, the Hawks looked primed to run away with the contest after the Lortie goal. But, as the score might suggest, securing the final result wasn’t always easy, particularly on defense, as Voorheesville provided offensive pressure all morning. The Blackbirds’ offensive tenacity reached a zenith in the game’s final 10 minutes, with several shots on goal.

One final Voorheesville scoring chance came dangerously close to finding the back of the net, as a ball got past goalie Brendan Hines, who had a remarkable showing overall given the shutout. The ball rolled toward the net, but in the nick of time, it was Rhinebeck’s Ben Fajardo who was able to redirect the ball just inches away from the net.

“It didn’t seem like they lost their composure too much,” Wiesenthal said of his players. “They did a great job.”

Now in his 14th season coaching the Hawks, Wiesenthal has experienced many different cultures and atmospheres as players have come and gone, but he feels the cohesion of this team, particularly off the field, has served them quite well.

“These guys work well together,” he said. “They’re friends outside of school, they’re friends inside school, and they work hard together.”

Rhinebeck is now 20-0-1 on the season, with the lone tie coming against Ellenville in early October. The focus now shifts to Sunday, where the Hawks will go for their first state championship since that win over Lansing five years ago. Lortie expressed his excitement as a potential state title hangs in the balance.

“The past couple of years, we’ve been playing together trying to reach this point,” Lortie said. “It’s just built-up motivation, so now that we’re here…all of our hard work comes down to one game.”

Mount Academy advanced to the title match in Class D for the second straight year as Connor Huleatt scored in the first half and Benson Arnold tallied early in the second half. The Eagles hung on after that to beat Chazy and advance to Sunday’s 1 p.m. championship match against Marathon at Middletown’s Faller Field.

“Anytime you go against Chazy that’s about the best you can deal with,” Mount Academy coach John Huleatt said. “We came out against this time and we’re thrilled. It feels great right now; I can hardly express it. It’s a coach’s dream.”

 

 

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