TROY – The climb to the Section II title will see the Mayfield boys’ soccer team face one final hill.
It will be a steep one as the Panthers will face perennial Class C power Maple Hill for this year’s crown on Saturday.
Mayfield and Maple Hill both punched their tickets to the title game with semifinal victories Wednesday at La Salle Institute.
The second-seeded Panthers posted a 4-1 victory over sixth-seeded Middleburgh, while the top-seeded Wildcats notched a 2-0 win over fourth-seeded Waterford-Halfmoon.
Senior Britain Goodemote had two goals for Mayfield, while Brice Williams and Dawson Leach each had a goal and an assist.
“Britain [Goodemote] is our best offensive player,” Mayfield coach Jon Caraco said. “We’ve encouraged him to take the opportunities when he sees them. He did that today and scored a pair of big goals for us.”
Austin Johns scored the lone goal for Middleburgh, which had won nine of its last 10 contest to reach the sectional semifinals for the first time since 2008.
With the wind at its back to start the game, Mayfield quickly took the wind out of Middleburgh’s sails.
Goodemote scored the game’s first goal for the Panthers just 8:37 into the contest on an assist from Leach.
“I knew the first goal was going to be important,” Caraco said. “It allowed us to settle in and play our game and it kept Middleburgh from getting any early momentum.”
The Panthers dominated the first half, outshooting the Knights by a 10-1 margin.
Leach scored the only other goal of the first half with 8:37 remaining after a long throw-in from Williams to make it 2-0 at the half.
As he did in the first half, Goodemote also opened the second-half scoring.
Goodemote made it 3-0 on an assist from Brodie Page with 35:41 to play before Williams scored on a corner kick to make it 4-0 with 20:14 remaining.
“It feels good to help my team win,” Goodemote said. “We’re looking forward to playing in the championship game. It’s going to be a tough game, but I think we can give Maple Hill a good game.”
Middleburgh avoided the shutout when Austin Johns converted a penalty kick with 14:40 to play.
Mayfield also won the regular-season meeting between the Western Athletic Conference rivals, 6-1, on Sept. 22.
Aiden Martuscello made seven stops for Mayfield, while Ben Croote made seven saves for Middleburgh.
The Knights finished their season with a 15-4 overall record.
“This was just a good group to coach,” Middleburgh coach Gregg Johns said. “I’m most proud of the fact that we have a good group of people. That’s what it’s all about at this level.”
Mayfield (16-2-1 overall moves on to the Class C final on Saturday against top-seeded Maple Hill at Colonie High School at 3 p.m.
The Panthers, who last won the Class C crown in 2004, lost to the Wildcats in the 2016 title game.
Caraco said he was excited to see his nine seniors have a chance to close their careers with a title.
“These seniors have played together so much,” Caraco said. “It’s not by accident that they’ve had a successfuls eason. It’s so rewarding to see it culminate with an opportunity to play for a sectional championship.”
MAPLE HILL BLANKS WATERFORD-HALFMOON
In Wednesday’s other semifinal contest, top-seeded Maple Hill scored a late goal in each half to post a 2-0 victory over fourth-seeded Waterford-Halfmoon.
Gavin Haller and Eli Charlebois scored goals for the Wildcats.
“At this point of the season, you never know what the outcome of the games will be,” Maple Hill coach Dan Gillespie said. “I thought Waterford played very hard.”
It was the 16th shutout in 19 games this season for Maple Hill, which has allowed just seven goals all season.
Luke Hoffman finished with two saves for Maple Hill, while Werkie Hayes made six stops for Waterford-Halfmoon.
The Fordians were making their first semifinal appearance since 2009, having posted wins over 13th-seeded Greenwich (2-1) and fifth-seeded Chatham (1-0) to reach the semis.
“We’re still a young team,” Waterford-Halfmoon coach Ryan Hardy said. “I’m thrilled that the guys got to experience this. We proved a lot of people wrong and we had a great year. I give them a lot of credit. They worked hard every day and I couldn’t ask for more as a coach.”
Maple Hill has won 19 sectional titles since 1990 and reached the championship game 24 times in that span. The Wildcats have won 13 Class C titles since 2000 and earned the Class B crown in 2010. Maple Hill won the 2018 Class C title before losing to Lake George in the 2019 semifinals.
“There’s a reason that Maple Hill has three state championships and as many sectional championships as they do,” Hardy said. “They’re a well-coached, hard-working team.”
Waterford-Halfmoon finished its season with a 12-7 overall record.
Maple Hill (17-2 overall) will face Mayfield in Saturday’s title game at Colonie High School.
“Mayfield is a strong team. It’s going to be a tough game,” Gillespie said. “We’ve had some battles with Jon [Caraco] and his teams over the years.”
SECTION II CLASS C SEMIFINALS
MAYFIELD 4, MIDDLEBURGH 1
Halftime: Mayfield led 2-0. Middleburgh scoring: Johns 1-0. Mayfield scoring: Goodemote 2-0, Williams 1-1, Leach 1-1, Page 0-1. Goalies: Middleburgh, Croote, 7 saves. Mayfield, Martuscello, 7 saves.
MAPLE HILL 2, WATERFORD-HALFMOON 0
Halftime: Maple Hill led 1-0. Waterford-Halfmoon scoring: None. Maple Hill scoring: Charlebois 1-1, Haller 1-0. Goalies: Waterford-Halfmoon, Hayes, 6 saves. Maple Hill, Hoffman, 2 saves.