ORANGEBURG – For the past three seasons, there has been only one hurdle that Albertus Magnus has been unable to get over: Bronxville.
Despite losing to the Broncos for the past three years, including last year in the sectional semifinals and the previous two in the finals, Albertus Magnus was hoping to get one more crack against them.
The second-seeded Falcons got their and then got their revenge, beating third-seeded Bronxville 1-0 in a Class B semifinal game at the Orangetown Soccer Field Complex on Thursday.
“I think that as strong of a team we were coming in, Bronxville always had that little edge over us,” Albertus Magnus senior captain Carly Clinton said. “This time, we had that edge over them.”
Bronxville had the better of the possession in the first half and generated more scoring chances. The best one came in the 16th minute, when Beth Finley found herself alone in front of the net, but her shot was stopped by Albertus Magnus goalkeeper Kaitlyn Kreider.
In the second half, Albertus Magnus began to win more balls in the midfield, and got the go-ahead goal from Danielle LaRochelle in the 50th minute.
“In the first half, we just started out pretty slow, but we picked it up and came out hard in the second half,” she said. “We just wanted to get it done.”
Bronxville, the defending state champions and five-time sectional winners, played the game with heavy hearts: Thomas Jakelich, a former boys soccer player for Bronxville who also attended soccer camps with the team, died on Tuesday before the Broncos’ quarterfinal game against Blind Brook.
“I don’t think that’s why we lost, but it’s tough to emotionally adjust yourself to this or that; they tried, but its hard to do,” Bronxville coach Don Cupertino said. “We had chances, we just couldn’t knock one in. But we’ll be back.”
Albertus Magnus will play the top seed, undefeated Irvington, in the final at Arlington High School on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Player of the game: Danielle LaRochelle, Albertus Magnus. With senior captain Hope Kehoe playing through a quad injury and being marked heavily by the Bronxville defense, the speedy sophomore stepped up to score the lone goal of the game.
Turning point: In the 50th minute, Clinton made a through-ball pass to a streaking LaRochelle down the right side. Bronxville goalkeeper Maddie Coyne came out to try sweep the ball away, but LaRochelle beat her to it and finished to give Albertus Magnus the lead.
Stat line: For Albertus Magnus, LaRochelle had a goal, Clinton had an assist and Kreider made six saves for the clean sheet. For Bronxville, Coyne made three saves.
Quotable: “This year, especially with out seniors, the win meant a lot to them; there are eight of us, and most of us have been in every one of those Bronxville games,” Clinton said. “We really needed that win, but it means nothing to us unless we get that section title.”