SCOTIA: Learning the hard way

Scotia-Glenville boys soccer coach Al Alexander isn't afraid of challenging his team.

The Tartans open their season by playing three consecutive games against Suburban Council opponents. Two of those games came at last weekend's Suburban Council-Foothills Council Tournament in Queensbury, with the third taking place Thursday against Shaker.

It's a reality check, said Alexander. "You're looking at a higher level of play (with Suburban Council teams). I don't have to have an undefeated season. What's important is how we do throughout the season and in the playoffs."

Scotia-Glenville (0-2) played well in Friday's Suburban Council-Foothills Council Tournament opener. The Tartans pushed neighbor Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake into overtime before losing 3-2 on John Dellapia's goal 4:40 into the first extra period.

Scotia-Glenville had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before Shawn Fitzpatrick tied the game with 3:10 left in the second half.

"Basically with Scotia-Glenville, we showed a lot of heart being down 2-1 and coming back to win the game," said BH-BL coach George Dudas. "That shows a lot of character."

Joe Hlat gave the Tartans the lead 1:45 into the game, but Mike Eddy tallied 7:30 later to pull the Spartans even. Nick Alescio put Scotia-Glenville back in front early in the second half with an unassisted goal.

That turned out to be Scotia-Glenville's final goal of the tournament. After BH-BL pulled out the comeback win Friday, Guilderland shut out the Tartans 3-0 in Saturday's second round.

Still, Alexander liked the progress he saw from his team, which features a new starting defense.

"We're learning," he said. "We played two Suburban Council schools, and we're going through a learning curve. And I didn't have my best players out there."

Goal scoring should not be a problem for the Tartans with the return of veterans such as Alescio, Hlat and Andrew Benaquista. Alexander said what will determine their fate in the Foothills Council will be how quickly their defense comes together.

"It's going to take them a while for them to get organized back there," he said.

History favors a quick learning curve for Scotia-Glenville. The Tartans have either won or been in contention for Foothills Council and Section II titles over the last decade.

"Do I have a good team (this year)? Yes," said Alexander. "Will we be competitive? Yes."

Following Thursday's game against Shaker, Scotia-Glenville is off until Monday, when it hosts Queensbury in its Foothills Council opener.""

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