The Rhinebeck Hawks varsity soccer squad had been sitting on an undefeated season, jumping to a 13-0 record after beating Ellenville, 4-0, on Oct. 10, and acing opponents left and right.
But the hammer fell Oct. 15 when the stellar Spackenkill Spartans visited and ruined the fun, beating Purple 2-1 in a game that came down to the final minutes of play.
Rhinebeck opened up with plenty of good chances to get on the board. In the sixth minute, Hawk Seth McClenhahan barely missed on a sliding shot, and the Hawks then failed to capitalize on a corner kick opportunity in the 8th minute. McClenahan buzzed in a shot in the 10th minute, and shortly after went on a shooting spree, cracking shots in the 14th and 15th minutes. Both were stopped by Spackenkill goalie Isaac Choi, who made seven saves on 14 Rhinebeck shots in the game.
“We had a bunch of finishing opportunities that we couldn’t take care of,” head coach Justin Wisenthal told The Observer of Rhinebeck’s offensive campaign. “I give a lot of credit to Isaac, Spack’s goalkeeper. He really had an outstanding game. We certainly created our opportunities and he denied most of them.”
The Hawks had trouble finding their groove in the second half of the first half, and Spackenkill made their first serious scoring bid. A Rhinebeck handball in the box led to a penalty kick goal for Spackenkill’s Sean Kaufman in the 17th minute. Purple tried to connect on another three shots in the final 12 minutes of the period, but went into the half tied 1-1 with the Spartans.
In the second half, Purple picked up where they left off in the beginning of the first, coming hard at the goal and floating four shots in the first 10 minutes, including one that connected with the goal post.
Spackenkill’s Dan Legasse flushed the Spartan’s game winner in the 53rd minute, assisted by Kaufman. Rhinebeck tried to make up the ground and almost converted on two serious looks, one from McClenahan in the 63rd minute that hit the cross bar and one from Nick Hoynes in the 52nd minute that was lifted just over the goal.
Rhinebeck kept things interesting even into the final minute, going at the goal aggressively and even taking a corner kick, but the Hawks couldn’t make anything happen.
“It was definitely a disappointing final result, but definitely a situation that we can use to learn from our mistakes. If there was a time to take a loss, better during the regular season than the postseason,” Wisenthal said.
And that postseason isn’t too far away. Rhinebeck enters the Mid-Hudson Athletic League semifinals on Oct. 22nd and will throw down against none other than the Spackenkill Spartans. Some bonus good news for Rhinebeck soccer in a bummer week: According to the New York State Sports Writers Association, the Hawks are the fourth ranked Division B boys soccer team in the state.