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Bates' goal lifts Sabres into semis

By MIKE CIOFFI and PHIL BLACKWELL

The Schalmont boys soccer team will be looking to equal the success of the school's 1984 team when it plays at the National Soccer Hall of Fame field in Oneonta Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

The Sabres advanced to the state class B semifinal after defeating Plattsburgh (Section VII) by a score of 1-0 in last Saturday's regional final at Colonie Central High School.

The kids see the trophies in the trophy cases at school, they walk by the plaques on the wall thinking how cool it would be to earn one. I tell them that they're making history every game they play, Schalmont coach Chris Bailey said.

Currently, the Sabres have a record of 22-1. The 1984 team, arguably the school's best, finished 22-1-1. The 2006 team will be looking to capture the first state championship for the school.

Schalmont's game-winning goal was scored by Chris Bates, but it involved crucial plays made by two other players. Greg Swift's high and hard throw in from the right sideline was headed on goal by Jordan Flores. Flores' shot was stopped, but the rebound came out to Bates, who put it behind the Plattsburgh keeper at 33:50 of the first half.

"We've scored a lot of goals this season, more than I can remember, on restarts and corner kicks by Swift," Bailey said. "It was a nice finish by Bates."

The younger and smaller Plattsburgh Hornets (17-5) gave the Sabres fits in the first half, but keeper Mike Falcone was equal to the task, stopping several scoring chances.

"Mike plays with a lot of composure in the backfield, and he also brings a lot of experience," Bailey said.

Sabres get past Clinton

Schalmont rode a pair of Joe Lontrato goals in the second half to a 2-1 victory over Section III champion Clinton in last Wednesday night's Class B regional playoff game at Chittenango High School near Syracuse.

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