Faithful Amsterdam soccer fans came out despite the raindrops on Tuesday night at Lynch Literacy Academy Field to honor seven senior members of the Amsterdam High School boys soccer team in a pre- game ceremony before taking on Gloversville. Captains Jared Baldizon, Tim Steele, and Patrick Corcoran, and their teammates, Daniel Brundage, Francisco Maroto, Jake Halle, and John Campovani, were recognized for their commitment to the game and introduced with their parents before taking the field against their Foothills Council rival, the Dragons.
“Heart, that’s how I’d best describe the seniors,” Amsterdam coach Chris Modelowski said. “I’ve been calling them out and telling them that you have to have heart. They have heart. They give everything they have, every game. That’s all I can ask for as a coach.”
Amsterdam was coming off their first win of the season against Johnstown a week earlier, and was up for the challenge against the Dragons on a rainy evening in Amsterdam. Amsterdam goalkeeper Elias Sanchez was on his game early turning away several Gloversville scoring chances before Cameron Biche and Cameron Stewart broke through with a pair of goals only 21 seconds apart.
“That was a beautiful shot,” Gloversville coach Jason Hillabrandt said on Biche’s goal with 17:32 left in the first half. “I was pleased with how we moved the ball tonight.”
Biche’s goal got past the outstretched arms of Sanchez and landed in the left corner. At the 17:11 mark, Stewart nearly duplicated the move, putting a defender behind him and then booted the ball past Sanchez to give the Dragons a 2-0 lead. It wouldn’t take long for a determined Rams team to strike back.
Amsterdam had 6-4 advantage in corner kicks, and also a lead in direct kicks in a physical game. Following a call for pushing on Gloversville, Rams forward Misha Murdoch executed a well placed direct kick that went off Gloversville defender and into the back of the net cutting the Dragons lead to 2-1 with 13:26 left in the half.
“Misha has been sending in those free kicks in practice and that one was beautiful,” Coach Modelowski said. “I keep telling the team that you’ve got to keep working hard.”
Gloversville maintained the lead into the second half and continued to put the ball on goal, but Sanchez and the AHS defense turned away every opportunity giving the Rams a chance to tie the game. The Sophomore goalkeeper finished the night with 11 saves. Sanchez’s counterpart in goal, Steve Kwak faced nine AHS shots and had to make a pair of saves. Kwak nearly faced an almost certain goal when Rams’ Yony Batres sent the ball across the mouth of the Gloversville goal with four minutes to play. Kwak slipped on the turf, but the ball rolled away without a shot on goal. The Rams had another good scoring chance with 1:15 left to play on a corner kick by Murdoch, but the Gloversville defense cleared the ball out of their zone and time ran out.
“We were fortunate on that play,” Coach Hillabrandt said on the close play at the four-minute mark. “Sometimes you try to hold back and then there’s a scramble for the ball. We were pleased with the effort tonight. It’s probably the best game we’ve played in a month. This is a good step for us.”
The effort was clearly there on the Amsterdam side as well. The Rams season won’t be defined by wins and losses, but on effort and commitment to revitalize the program, one step at a time.
“It’s working hard to get better,” Coach Modelowski said. “This is another small step for us. The team picked their heads up and tried to get the other goal. I’ve been saying it to them all season long that they have to keep working hard.”
Amsterdam travels to Hudson Falls on Thursday afternoon for a Foothills Council crossover game, and will round out its season next week with a game at Broadalbin-Perth on Monday and a home contest with Mekeel Christian Academy on Tuesday.