The last leg of the regular season for the Rhinebeck High School boys soccer team is a tough one.
Up against Ellenville on the road Tuesday and Spackenkill at home Thursday, coach Justin Wiesenthal feels his team is running the proverbial gauntlet — and to him that’s a good thing. Wiesenthal feels Facing the Blue Devils and Spartans on the back end of the schedule is going to challenge his team.
“The next few matches are going to be high-paced and intense,” said Wiesenthal, whose team won the state Class C title a year ago. “It’s a good gauntlet that challenges us before the sectionals start. We’re happy to play these teams at the end of the season. It’s going to hopefully challenge the guys to raise their level of play and hopefully be successful.”
Rhinebeck’s run of tests began Monday when it faced Section 1’s Bronxville on the road. The Hawks lost 4-0, missing a few opportunities to finish. Goalie Spencer Hutchins made seven saves, and even though Wiesenthal admitted his team had several defensive breakdowns, he said his players worked hard.
After all, loss can be the greatest teacher.
“We knew it was going to be tough. The speed of play was a lot higher than we’ve seen this season, which is good ultimately for us,” Wiesenthal said. “They moved the ball and caught us on our heels for a little while in the first half. Losses can be beneficial, as long as the team makes them beneficial.”
With Ellenville and Spackenkill now on the horizon, Wiesenthal expects the Hawks (10-2) to see the same type of fast-paced action Bronxville displayed.
“I’m expecting much of what we saw (Monday) — increased speed of play,” Wiesenthal said of the next two games. “The guys are going to have to work hard and finish opportunities when they’re created.”
A.J. Martelli: [email protected], 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports