Last year, the Loudonville Christian boys soccer team entered the Section II, Class D playoffs as the No. 1 seed and lost in the first round.
This year, the Eagles are headed to the semifinals as the No. 4 seed.
Such is the way of the world in playoff soccer.
Loudonville Christian (10-6-1) punched its ticket to the semifinals with a 3-0 victory over No. 5 Argyle last Friday at the Boght Soccer Complex in Latham. Elijah Bovenzi scored midway through the first half, and Dillon King added a pair of goals late in the second half to seal the victory and a date with Central Hudson Valley League rival New Lebanon Wednesday in Queensbury.
I think we're looking like a much stronger team all around (than last year), said Loudonville Christian coach Jeff King.
The greatest improvement for the Eagles has been their defense. After losing to Waterford 5-1 on Oct. 8, they have allowed a total of three goals in their last four games including a pair of shutouts.
"They're coming along (on defense)," said King. "We certainly want the team to be a defensive team more than anything else, and there's no better time to improve than in the playoffs."
Loudonville Christian's defense certainly frustrated Argyle all day. Outside of a couple of scoring chances, the Scots were limited to taking long shots that Eagle goaltender Alex MaLossi easily saw and stopped.
Loudonville Christian's offense had its own issues scoring goals, though. The Eagles misfired on several opportunities after Bovenzi put them on the scoreboard, but Dillon King eventually broke free to score two insurance goals.
"We should be able to put the ball in the net more often than we did," said coach King. "We're going to have a tougher game in the semifinals."
At least, Loudonville Christian is familiar with its semifinal opponent. The Eagles played top-seeded New Lebanon (17-0-1) twice in the CHVL season, losing to the Tigers 3-1 Sept. 10 and tying them 2-2 Sept. 30.