Lake Placid reaches soccer semifinal

Lake Placid’s Jarell Paul heads the ball over AuSable Valley’s David Janisse during the second half of Wednesday’s match. Also pictured are Cobane Bissonette of Lake Placid and Patriots’ forward Caleb Hamilton. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid boys soccer team got past the first hurdle in a defense of its Section VII, Class C title with a 5-2 victory over AuSable Valley Wednesday in a quarterfinal game on the Blue Bomber’s field.

The match was between the fourth-seed Lake Placid and the fifth-seeded Patriots, who hadn’t won at all this fall until Saturday, when they knocked off Beekmantown in their regular season finale.

Despite facing a one-win team, Lake Placid coach Stuart Hemsley said it was good to take on an opponent in a competitive match that wasn’t necessarily a nail-biter.

Lake Placid is seeking its sixth straight Class C crown, and in order to make that happen, the Blue Bombers will now have to get past their next hurdle when they face top-seeded Seton Catholic in the semifinal round, with that game taking place Monday at Saranac Central starting at 5 p.m.

“It was good to get in a game before the semis,” Hemsley said. “I would have wanted a game before today even if we had been in the top three (seeds). You have to score goals, there’s real tackles, there’s real competition. AuSable has legit players, and they’re goalkeeper made good saves and caught balls in the air like any good goalkeeper would.”

Five different players scored goals to provide Lake Placid with a balanced attack on offense. The Blue Bombers owned a 3-0 edge at halftime, and then pushed the advantage to 4-0 before the Patriots got on the scoreboard. The teams then traded a goal each late in the match to round out the scoring.

Justin Novick, Colin Bentley and Matt White found the back of the net in the first half to give the Blue Bombers their three-goal lead at intermission, and Carter Grady and Remi Borden added second-half goals in the win. Grady’s tally 10:10 into the second half put Lake Placid firmly in control with a 4-0 lead before Tyler Light finally put the Patriots on the board. Borden scored at the 23:58 mark for a 5-1 Bombers’ edge and AuSable Valley’s Caleb Hamilton netted the final goal of the match with 4:10 left on the game clock.

AuSable Valley coach Jeff Miller didn’t like the way his team started the match but was happy with the Patriots effort as their season was winding down.

“Lake Placid had it together today. They passed the ball well,” Miller said. “We were a little flat-footed in the first half and that hurt. In the second half, we came back strong and kept it a little close.”

The Blue Bombers spread out their first three goals, with Novick, who came up from junior varsity, putting Lake Placid on the board 12:03 into the match off an assist from Matt Brandes. Bentley upped the hosts’ lead to 2-0 with an unassisted goal at the 21:06 mark, and White then scored a late goal, finiding the back of the net 2:30 before intermission with Joaquim Benavides assisting on the play.

Jarell Paul and Tony Matos earned an assist each for Lake Placid in the second half.

The Blue Bombers outshot the Patriots 21-8. Junior Jacob Novick recorded six saves in goal for Lake Placid and Ryan Thomas had 13 stops in nets for AuSable Valley.

Lake Placid improved to 5-8 with the win while the Patriots finished their season at 1-12.

After eliminating the Patriots, the Blue Bombers will now attempt to take down this season’s top Class C seed. Seton Catholic has defeated Lake Placid in each of the three meetings between the two teams this season, but on each occasion, the Blue Bombers have tightened the gap. In their last encounter on Oct. 11, the Knights won 2-1 in overtime.

“They beat us 5-0 preseason, 2-0 here, and 2-1on their field in OT, so we’re getting closer,” Hemsley said. “The key will be to keep it tight in the back and score one goal. It’s not going to be a high scoring game if we win, we just don’t want to collapse. It’s going to be a more high-passioned game than this one was.

“This time we’re the underdog, and I’ve always been an underdog as a player,” Hemsley continued. “I like being an underdog. Expectations are low, but expetations won’t be low. We have good players in all departments. It’s can they come together for one game, one game at a time. They did all right tonight — they can do better but that’s been the story of the season.”

Lake Placid and Seton Catholic will meet in the opening match of Monday’s Class C doubleheader. The second contest will pitt third-seed Saranac Lake against Northern Adirondack, the tournament’s second seed.

Lake Placid 5,

AuSable Valley 2

AuSable Valley 0 2 — 2

Lake Placid 3 2 — 5


First Half

1, LP, Ju. Novick (Brandes), 12:03. 2, LP, Bentley, 21:06. 3, LP, White (Benevides), 37:30.

Second Half

4, LP, Grady (Paul), 10:10. 5, AV, Light, 20:45. 6, LP, Borden (Matos), 23:58. 7, AV, Hackett (Hamilton), 35:50.

Shots: LP 21, AV 8.

Saves: Thomas, AV, 13. Ja. Novick, LP, 6.