Wednesday November 7, 2012

AUSTIN DANFORTH

Assistant Sports Editor

STILLWATER, N.Y. -- A steamroller with 11 ponytails.

What else could you call the top-seeded Hoosick Falls Central School girls soccer team on its dream romp through the Class C sectional tournament?

Scoring just 49 seconds into their title-game rematch with No. 3 Mechanicville, the Panthers buried any hint of drama like last year's overtime thriller. A 6-0 rout by the final horn, Tuesday night's win was an exclamation point for a repeat championship.

Freshman Jordyn Haynes netted a first-half hat trick and Grace Delurey collected a goal and four assists as the Panthers (18-2) won for the 14th time in the past 15 games.

"We've just taken it to another level," coach Tom Husser said. "It was the same sort of thing last year, we got to sectionals, started shutting teams down, started scoring -- but maybe not like this."

Not quite like this, no.

In four sectional tournament games, the Panthers outscored opponents 26-1, never notching less than six goals in a game.

Hoosick Falls faces the winner of the Section VII/X regional playoff in the state quarterfinals on Saturday. The Panthers host the contest at Stillwater at 1:30 p.m.

Getting to the state tournament like they did, however, was something of a shock considering last year's down-to-the-wire, 2-1 overtime victory against the Red Raiders.

"I didn't have to follow somebody around the entire game, it wasn't 110 minutes or however long we played last year," said Hoosick defender Alice Hayden, who marked Mechanicville's star forward Abby Maiello out of last year's final. "We didn't want to come in and be cocky or anything like that. We knew it was going to be somewhat of a tough game.

"But this was a lot different."

From the first kick, Hoosick Falls preyed on the Red Raiders' high defensive line, an attempt to catch the Panthers in offside situations.

Before the game was a minute old, Delurey, winning a ball in midfield, split the defense with a through-ball that freed Haynes with no one to beat but the goalkeeper. With a touch to her right, the freshman finished into an empty net.

Eleven minutes later, Delurey threaded another lethal ball through the Mechanicville (15-4-1) back line that gave Haynes a 30-yard breakaway for the Panthers' second goal.

"I'm just thinking, if no one's in front of me then I just have the goalie and usually I can get around her," Haynes said. "It's just easy scoring."

Haynes completed the hat trick -- her fifth of the year -- in the 32nd minute and Allie Martin finished at the far post after a corner kick in the 39th minute to push the halftime lead to 4-0.

"How about that first half?" Husser said. "I knew we were quicker already and then they offsides-trapped us ... our skills showed. We had some nice goals."

Three minutes after halftime, Liz Babson headed a Hayden corner kick off teammate Rachel Pine for the Panthers' fifth goal.

Delurey finished the scoring four minutes later with the game's prettiest goal. Chasing down a ball from Haynes on the left wing, the senior cut back to the top left corner of the box and chipped in a shot off the far post, leaving no doubt about the outcome, the Panthers' fifth Section II crown since 2001.

Mechanicville goalkeeper Kim Thompson finished with five saves, while Hoosick Falls starter Hannah Fricke stopped six shots and Jane Tutunjian one.

"Not too hard, not too many shots -- it's pretty relaxing," Fricke said. "I like having these games -- not like last year, which was too much on my heart.

"This year was a lot better."