BOYS SOCCER: CHENANGO FORKS TO FACE AGGRESSIVE FOE IN STATE QUARTERFINAL
By ROB CENTORANI
Broome County East Sports Report
One ball, multiple players with aggressive mindsets and a spot in the final four at stake.
If you head to Oneonta's Wright National Soccer Campus at noon Saturday, you're likely to see some man-sized collisions in the Class B boys state quarterfinal between Chenango Forks and Section 3 champion Marcellus.
"They don't hesitate," Forks coach Jarod McMullen said of the 12-7 Mustangs. "They put pressure on the ball. There's no hesitation, whether it's in the air or on the ground. Every player challenged the ball, there was no hesitation."
McMullen could have just as easily been describing his team.
The winner will advance to the state semifinals the following weekend in Middletown.
Marcellus advanced Monday with a 3-2 victory over three-time defending state champion Skaneateles. Senior midfielder Austin Raicht scored off an assist from Jeff Landry with 1 minutes, 1 second left in regulation to snap a 2-all tie.
It marked Raicht's ninth goal of the season to go along with 12 assists. Connor Ciota scored his team-high 12th goal in the sectional final and Mattias Ferrara also had a goal for Marcellus.
"I saw a team that has some really good players in the middle of the field," McMullen said. "This particular midfield is a strong group. They have two central players who attack well and defend well -- very fast, very skilled and very strong.
"They're a good team. I like how we match up with them. It's going to be a good even match for both teams."
Forks (14-3) outscored its two sectional opponents, 12-2, including a 6-1 victory over Susquehanna Valley in Saturday's Section 4 Class B final at the WNSC.
in winning its first sectional title since 2015, the Blue Devils received five goals from attacker Nate Raab during tournament. Keegan Watson had three goals in sectionals.
They've been the go-to guys up front all season for the Blue Devils.
But Forks needs to possess the ball before it can think about scoring and that battle for the ball might be the most interesting aspect of Saturday's game.
"That's going to be big, especially early on to set the tone." McMullen said. "Both teams are going to want to come out and win that first ball and first tackle. That's going to be fun to watch. We want to be that team, but from what I saw (Monday) night, they certainly did a good job of winning a lot of ball against Skaneateles."
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