Assistant Sports Editor
HOOSICK, N.Y. -- In a matchup of two of the top teams in the Wasaren League, the Hoosick Falls Central School Panthers and the Schuylerville Black Horses boys' soccer teams ended in a 1-1 draw after 100 minutes of play.
"I think we were a bit unlucky not to get the win, but Schuylerville played really hard," coach Mike Young said. "We know they are usually one of the best teams in the league."
In the opening minutes of the game, Schuylerville forced their possession-style system on the Panthers, but it took nearly 25 minutes for it to produce something.
Part of the reason was the play of Hoosick Falls keeper Noah Chani. With the Black Horses spending large chunks of the first half in their offensive third, Chani was called on to pluck the ball out of the air several times.
The first came in the opening moments, as Schuylerville put a corner kick into the box. But as the ball started to come back down, Chani was there to grab. He would follow that up with a save on a shot by Cyrus Corsetti, then after 23 minutes of play Chani grabbed a ball rolling towards the goal line after Jordan Sanders had put a shot over the top of Chani.
"[Noah] is a great goalie," teammate Max Haar said. "He is reliable. We love having him out there."
Schuylerville's coach agreed.
"That save was amazing," Dave Gauci said. "He is a good keeper. He has good hands, and he comes out a lot. He is hard to beat."
But the Black Horses were eventually able to get to him.
A minute after Chani had pulled the ball off the goal line, Sanders had another shot saved. When the ball bounced off Chani and back to him, Sanders put a cross in that Charles Henle was able to smash home from a yard out.
But going a goal down only helped to bring the Panthers to life.
The Black Horses would have another shot to score minutes later, but this time Tyler Rondeau came to the rescue and cleared a ball away after it had gotten around Chani.
But from there, the Panthers started to exert some dominance in the game.
"I thought we did good things, but we got out of our gameplan a bit," Gauci said. "We got caught in a non-possession game and we are a possession team."
The payoff would come with just under 8 minutes left in the half.
After Haar had a shot go just over the crossbar, he came back with a wonderful individual effort.
Starting out on the left, Haar tooville defender, worked in towards the penalty area, and let go of a shot with his right boot that ended up tucked inside the far post to make it 1-1.
"The kid was trying to shield the ball, and I just took it from him," Haar said. "After that, i think the team started playing real well and we had a lot of momentum behind us."
But all of the momentum for either side did not mean another goal would come.
Before the half, Chani would tip one more shot over the bar, and Panther Drew Phillips would have a shot saved by Horses keeper Clay Magnusen.
In the second half, the Panthers would have a few shots to get another goal, but the ball would not go into the net.
In the early going, Phillips was able to work around the defense on a pass from Haar, but his shot went just over the crossbar.
Moments later, it was Haar who would just miss as his shot went wide of the near post after he picked up a rebound on a Cameron Reynolds shot.
Schuylerville's best chance would come through Patrick Castle, who had a shot from close range bounce off the near post and back into play.
Phillips would almost set up another goal on a corner. Flicking the ball backwards with his head, it went just wide of the far post. Had a Panther been at the post, the ball would have rolled in.
The Panthers move to 2-0-1 on the season, while the Horses move to 3-0-2.