Mayfield boys’ soccer tops OESJ in battle of WAC unbeatens

Mayfield’s Brody Page with the ball against OESJ’s Tristan Stever during Tuesday’s Western Athletic Conference boys’ soccer game at Broadalbin-Perth High School. (Erica Miller/The Leader-Herald)

By Paul Wager

The Leader-Herald

BROADALBIN – In a matchup of two of the three remaining unbeaten teams in the Western Athletic Conference, Mayfield scored a pair of second-half goals to post a 3-1 victory over Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville in a boys’ soccer contest.

The game was played on the turf at Broadalbin-Perth High School’s Patriot Field after this week’s rain left Mayfield’s home field unplayable.

It was the 10th win in 11 games this season for the Panthers, who are ranked 13th in Class C in the latest New York Sportswriters Association poll.

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Christian Scunziano and Brody Deal each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, while Britain Goodemote also scored. Trevor Ruberti added an assist for Mayfield.

Mason Snell scored the lone goal for OESJ. It was his 21st of the season and 90th career goal for the Wolves, who are ranked fifth in the state Class D poll.

“They have the Snell boys who are really good players and they have great team speed. We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Mayfield coach Jon Caraco said of the Wolves. “We concentrated on trying to play as a unit. We knew if we got into 1-on-1 battles with them that they would have the advantage. We tried to use our depth to our advantage.”

After a back-and-forth battle played mostly in the middle of the field, Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville opened the scoring with 18:04 left in the first half when Mason Snell ripped a shot inside the right post.

“Their first goal speaks to how good he is,” Caraco said of Mason Snell. “We had several of our players get a foot on the ball, but it still wound up in the back of our net.”

Despite giving up the game’s first goal, the Panthers regrouped in rapid fashion, answering just 45 seconds later when Deal scored on an assist from Ruberti to tie the game at 1-1.

“That goal could have been a time for us to start to crumble, but we didn’t do that,” Caraco said. “We got right back at it and scored less than a minute later.”

The game remained knotted at 1-1 into the half.

After the break, Mayfield pressed forward in an effort to take its first lead.

The early pressure paid off when Scunziano found Goodemote with a quick throw-in deep in the OESJ end of the field. Goodemote sent a shot into the net at the near post to give the Panthers their first lead at 2-1 with 31:38 to play.

“Our first goal in the second half was just a heads up play by Scunziano,” Caraco said. “He took the throw-in while they were still getting sorted out and we were able to take advantage of that.”

The Panthers added an insurance goal with 27:41 to play when Scunziano made it 3-1 on an assist from Deal.

Mayfield, which had registered three straight shutouts coming into the game, surrendered just the one goal Tuesday.

“Tom Young played well defensively for us tonight,” Caraco said. “Our whole defense was real solid against a talented offensive team.”

Young, Jake Petoff, Brice WiIlliams and Dylan Merk limited the high-powered OESJ offense to just four shots on goal.

Coming into the game, OESJ had outscored its opposition by a 67-9 margin this season.

“We usually do better on larger fields,” OESJ coach Mark Snell said. “We made some mistakes at the back tonight and it cost us.”

Aiden Martuscello made three saves to post the win in goal for Mayfield, which boasts an experienced roster featuring nine seniors and two juniors.

“This group has put in the time and energy,” Caraco said. “It’s good to see their experience paying off. It’s a fun group to coach.”

Owen Feagles and Paetyn Logan Dillenbeck combined to make four saves for OESJ.

It was the fifth straight win for the Panthers, whose only loss came at the hands of Greenville by a 2-0 margin in the title game of the Mayfield Tournament on Sept. 18. The Spartans are ranked second in the latest Class B state poll.

While Mayfield continued its roll, it was the second straight loss for OESJ, which dropped a 4-0 non-league decision on the turf at Gloversville on Saturday. The Wolves have now lost two straight after going unbeaten in their previous 20 games. OESJ’s last loss before Saturday came in a 2-0 defeat against Fort Ann in the 2019 Section II Class D championship game.

“We’ll get better,” coach Snell said. “I’d rather lose now than in sectionals. We have to adjust and learn from our mistakes.”

Mayfield (9-1 overall, 7-0 WAC) is scheduled to travel to Schenectady today to face Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons at 4:15 p.m.

OESJ (9-2-1 overall, 6-1-1 WAC) is slated to host Cherry Valley-Springfield on Saturday in a non-league contest at Soldiers and Sailors Field.

Halftime: Tied 1-1. OESJ scoring: M. Snell 1-0. Mayfield scoring: Deal 1-1, Scunziano 1-1, Goodemote 1-0, Ruberti 0-1. Goalies: OESJ, Feagles 0 saves, Logan Dillenbeck 4 saves. Mayfield, Martuscello, 3 saves.

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