The Mid-Hudson Athletic League championship had long eluded the Spackenkill High School boys soccer team. Seven years, to be exact.
But on Thursday the past was erased, as the Spartans beat Red Hook 2-0 to win the MHAL championship at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Hyde Park.
Winning gave the Spartans a nice sense of satisfaction, and a great deal of confidence entering the Section 9 Class B playoffs. Or so Spackenkill coach Manny Blanco said.
“It’s a title that’s been avoiding us for the last seven years. We haven’t won it since 2008, it’s nice we finally got it,” Blanco said. “It was a championship game and they played like champions today.”
Being tested before the postseason, Blanco added, was beneficial to his team.
“That’s the good thing about MHALs — we get to play two tough teams before sectionals,” said Blanco, whose Spartans are the top seed in the Section 9 Class B tournament.. Spackenkill beat Rhinebeck 3-0 in Tuesday’s semifinal. Although playing in Class B this season, Rhinebeck was last year’s Class C state champion.
“It gives us that confidence that we can play tough teams before the playoffs.”
Chris Stamper scored Spackenkill’s first goal while the Raiders helped on the second. The ball deflected off one of the Raiders’ defenders and found the back of the net. Goalie Ryan Espinoza made five saves.
Blanco praised the play of his defense, keeping Red Hook off the board. Red Hook is the top seed in the Section 9 Class A tournament.
“We played them tight,” Blanco said. “We knew they had some threats up top. We made sure to take space away from them, defensively.”
Blanco now anticipates even more difficult competition heading into sectional play for Spackenkill (14-3).
“Class B is a tough bracket,” Blanco said. “We have to be ready to compete in as many matches as we can.”
A.J. Martelli: [email protected], 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports
MHAL boys soccer
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The MHAL girls soccer final between Spackenkill and Red Hook ended after the Journal’s deadline. See poughkeepsiejournal.com for information from that game.