Thursday, 03 November 2022 13:06

Heartbreaking Loss in Overtime: Saratoga Soccer Falls Short in Section II Final

Photo by Kyle Adams Photo by Kyle Adams

COLONIE — On Tuesday, November 1, the Saratoga Blue Streaks squared off against Shaker High School in the Class AA Section II final hosted in Colonie. The fans in attendance didn’t have to wait long for the scoring as Saratoga’s leading scorer for the season - Ryan Farr - netted the ball off an assist from Owen Eldridge in the twelfth minute. In what would be a  back-and-forth contest all night, Shaker needed less than a minute to equalize as Lesedi Sekhobo knotted things at 1-1, which is how the first half would finish. 

Midway through the second half, the deadlock was broken by Shaker’s Kofi Sarfoh by way of a header from Nick Pepe. Just nine minutes later, Brendan Degan notched another for the Bison as they took what looked like a commanding 3-1 lead with less than 10 minutes left in the final. But Saratoga stepped up, and the effort was led by one player in particular, the previous goal scorer and junior Ryan Farr. Farr was the first to the ball as a cross from Lucas Verghese swung into the penalty area with just under 9 minutes remaining. Farr’s header would make it 3-2.

“Ryan Farr is unbelievable,” said Shaker coach Dan Fountain in a post game statement. “We had him triple-teamed and he was still causing us fits and scoring a bunch of goals. He’s just an unbelievable player and the team uses him well.”

With 2 minutes left, the hattrick was complete as Vincent Devito assisted Farr for his third goal of the night. 

“He’s been amazing all season and he kind of took the team on his shoulders and got us those goals,” said coach Jeffery Geller about Farr. “The team was definitely feeding off his energy, but we’re a little gutted on how it ended,” Geller would say to the media after the match. 

How it ended was frustrating for both Saratoga fans and players alike. Ultimately, it was a line judge’s decision to give a penalty to Shaker in golden goal overtime (meaning if one team scores, it’s over). Shaker’s Ben Halek lined up to take the kick, and with the stroke of his boot sent Saratoga home and claimed the Section II title for Shaker High. With 18 seniors on the Saratoga squad, the abrupt end of the season on a penalty kick may feel sour, but with an overall record of 15-1-1 and Class AA ranking of #2 in New York State, hopefully the momentum of this year can carry the program for years to come.

“Not only did we have a great season, but I felt like this group is a family,” said Geller. “I’m going to miss a lot of these boys next year. They fought for each other. They played for each other all year and I really can’t ask for anything more.” 

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