Once they were clicking, there was no stopping them. Rhinebeck boys varsity soccer, which has been lighting teams up all year, took advantage of a breezy matchup to beat Fallsburg, 5-0, in the Section 9, Class B semifinals at Bard College Oct. 27.
They then went on the road to defeat James O’Neill, 2-0, in the sectional semifinal, and will now face #1 seed Spackenkill for the sectional championship.
In the Fallsburg night game, it took a whole half for the Hawks to get things moving, however. Fallsburg was actually the first team to make notable offensive moves. A stopped Fallsburg header in the sixth minute led to a long drive for Seth McClenahan, but to no avail. A wild play in the 15th minute, in which three Rhinebeck players skated it past a cadre of Fallsburg defenders, almost resulted in a Rhinebeck goal.
Rhinebeck couldn’t make any magic happen until the final minutes of the half. Nick Hoynes burned downfield on an outlet pass and scored in a one-on-one opportunity against Fallsburg’s goalie, sending Rhinebeck into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
And then things got wild. Rhinebeck came out firing on all cylinders. A pair of missed headers in the 40th and 43rd minutes by Kory Hutchins and Andy Rosenzweig, respectively, were chased by a McClenahan goal in the 48th minute. Rosenzweig made up for his miss just minutes later when he scored on an assist from McClenahan.
Fallsburg tried to play catch-up with the Hawks, going to the long ball and looking for isolation opportunities, but they had no such luck. Purple smothered most potential man-on-man plays, and when they didn’t, fidgety Fallsburg seemed unable to settle the ball in for a play on the goal and unwilling to pull out any show-stopper ball fakes.
Purple simply decided to feed the lead in the waning minutes of the game. McClenahan sank a goal on a corner kick in the 67th minute, unassisted but for the goalie’s arm, and drew some discernible amazement from the crowd. After a yellow card in the box in the 72nd minute, Aiden McKibben-Vaughn scored Rhinebeck’s final goal on a penalty kick and put the Hawks up 5-0.
“I think it just took a little time for them to get their feet underneath them on the different pitch, and once we started to move the ball a little bit things started to open up for us,” Rhinebeck head coach Justin Wisenthal told The Observer.
Rosenzweig, McClenahan, and Hoynes all assisted in the game, and Rhinebeck goalie Eric Rodriguez had an easy night, netting only one save.
With the win, the Hawks advanced to the sectional semifinals, to meet James I. O’Neill Oct. 29.
Purple grabbed that victory, 2-0, with Rosenzweig netting both of the team’s goals in the second half. Rodriguez tallied five saves and McClenahan notched the only assist of the game.
“The common theme for us today was defending. The team really stepped up and defended very well against a pretty good offense, and we were able to find the back of the net two times to secure things,” said Wisenthal of the O’Neill game
The Hawks improved to 16-2 with the victory, and are set to play Spackenkill for the championship at Middletown’s Faller Field on Oct. 31 at 4pm.