Bombers celebrate senior day with big win

Lake Placid goalkeeper Jacob Novick makes a leaping save on a shot going for the net late in Wednesday’s match against Northern Adirondack. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid boys soccer team picked up a much-needed win on Wednesday against a solid opponet.

Competing in their final regular-season home match while honoring their seniors, the Blue Bombers got a goal from Sebastian Navarez midway through the first half that stood as the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Northern Adirondack.

With the win, Lake Placid ended a two-game losing skid and improved to 3-4-2 in Northern Soccer League Division II play. The Bobcats entered the match after winning four straight, including dishing out a 2-1 setback last week to the Chazy Eagles, who were unbeaten at the time and the top-ranked Class D team in New York state.

Early pressure got Lake Placid going, and solid goalkeeping by senior Jacob Novick helped keep the Blue Bombers on top down the stretch.

“That was better,” Lake Placid coach Stuart Hemsley said following the match. “That’s the kind of performance level that I want from teams who play for me, and I want that effort level. It’s for them – the kids. You don’t get a nice field, nice uniforms and then turn in a shabby performance.”

Pao, a Lake Placid junior exchange student from Thailand, and Cody Lambert of Northern Adirondack, collide while chasing loose ball. (Enterprise photo - Lou Reuter)

Navarez scored at the 17:29 mark of the first half, on a play that saw the junior shake off a Bobcats defender and beat goalkeeper Max Smart on a shot from 20 yards out. The play actually began at the other end of the field on a Bobcats corner kick, with Blue Bombers junior Justin Novick gaining control of the ball and sending Navarez on his way.

“It came from a corner kick of theirs and we broke,” Hemsley said. “That’s what Sebastian can do. He’s that link player between our defense and our forwards. He had to beat someone to get up against the goaltender, but that’s what he can do. He can beat people in one-on-ones.”

One of Lake Placid’s biggest accomplishments defensively was holding NAC playmaker Brett Juntunen off the board.

“They have the most dangerous foward in the league,” Hemsley said. “We’ve had players like that before, we don’t have players like that right now, but we have to address the best players in the league. Those are the ones who are going to beat you. We kept him off the scoresheet today, but all the same, it was close at times. Jacob made some really big saves near the end.”

NAC coach Damien Nevader said after a rocky start, his team played better soccer in the second half. But in the end, the Bobcats effort came up short.

“Before the Chazy game we had three pretty good wins going into that one,” Nevader said. “We’ve been playing really well, we always come here, it’s a long drive, and always play awful in the first half. That’s what happed today. I think in the second half we did enough to win. That last 10, 15 minutes, we had seven, eight, nine really good chances.

“In the first half, they just beat us to every ball,” he continued. “In the second half they made it hard enough for us that we weren’t getting really clear chances, getting chances that maybe if they weren’t close to us like they were, maybe we would have put them in the back of the net. They played well enough to win for sure.”

Jacob Novick, along with Matt White and Cooper Holmes, were the three starting seniors in Lake Placid’s young lineup. Novick, who started in nets during Lake Placid’s state final four run a season ago, said he would like to see Wednesday’s win be the start of a nice run into the playoffs for the Blue Bombers.

“We knew they were going to play us tough. They were aggressive, we knew that from the last game, so we just had to be aggressive and bring it back to them,” Novick said. “We played well. We were on the ball and not watching it, we were switching the field better and controlling and passing a lot better than we usually do, and hopefully we can keep it up into the post season and do what we did last year.”