Panthers battle tough; can't get past Red Raiders

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HOOSICK, N.Y. >> The Hoosick Falls boys soccer team gave it their all against undefeated Mechanicville on Monday, but were unable to come out winners as the Red Raiders defeated the Panthers 3-0.

A slow start was the Panthers kryptonite in the game as Mechanicville jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, thanks to a goal by Jeff Luce with just under 10 minutes gone by in the first half.

Luce came back to hurt the Panthers again just a couple minutes later, feeding a wide open Chris Ciccarelli who fired a shot past the outstretched hands of the Panther goalie Evan McCart into the net that extended the Mechanicville lead to two.

"You can't give a team like Mechanicville a lot of chances to score and defensively we allowed that to happen early on in the game," said Hoosick Falls coach Tim Ossont. "I thought we did do a good job contesting most of their shots all game long, but unfortunately we gave them a couple golden opportunities to score and they took advantage of it."

Down two now, the Panthers revved up their offense and started to aggressively attack the Raiders box, but could not finish on any of their scoring opportunities.

"We were having trouble finishing on our scoring opportunities," Ossont said. "We had a lot of scoring opportunities in the game, which was good, but we didn't score on any of them and your not going to win games when you can't find the net."

Mechanicville's goalie Tyler Kraszewski was a bit of a factor in the Panthers not being able to score, coming up with four saves in the first half and finished with five in the game.

On the other side of the field, Hoosick Falls' goaltender Evan McCart did his best to keep his team in the game, coming up with four big saves to keep the deficit at two going into halftime.

In the second half, the Panthers offense again were aggressive in trying to get back in the game, but just couldn't find their mark with shots going way wide of the net.

With the score still 2-0 with about 20 minutes to go, Luce once again became a factor in the game and sealed the Panthers fate.

After getting a nice breakaway opportunity off a great pass from teammate Marcus Tobin, Luce drove into the Panthers box and knocked in his game-high second goal to give the Red Raiders a 3-0 lead and help Mechanicville clinch their eighth win of the season.

"As a team we had a lot of shots on goal and I was able to connect on a couple of my scoring opportunities to help us win," Luce said. "We're 8-0 right now and the team is playing really well. Hopefully we can continue to be successful this season."

With the loss, the Panthers fall to 1-5-1 on the season.

McCart finished with a game-high eight saves in net for the Panthers.

Even with the loss, Ossont saids he thinks the team is getting better as the season goes on and that if the team keeps improving, they will see more victories occur.

"We have to get better at playing quicker and playing more under control," Ossont said. "We have to work on getting better touches and keeping our heads up while dribbling, but I think we are playing well. We just have to clean some things up."

The Panthers will look to rebound from their loss in their next matchup against Spa Catholic on Wednesday.


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