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Shenendehowa boys end hiatus by beating Saratoga

Four years is a long time to go without a Section II boys soccer title at Shenendehowa.

So, the Plainsmen were determined not to go away from Tuesday's Class AA final at Colonie Central High School empty handed.

Ryan Connors and Ryan Yurchak scored, and goaltender John Mabee came up with a pair of key saves to help Shen defeat Saratoga Springs 2-0 and claim the school's 11th Sectional title since 1988.

We've had a little bit of a hiatus after winning the state title in 2005, and the guys were determined to end it, said Shen coach Mike Campisi.

Shen (17-1-1) had some difficulty establishing itself at the offensive end of the field in the first half against Saratoga (13-6-1). The Blue Streaks routinely challenged every ball, which disrupted the Plainsmen's passing game.

"I don't think we played well in the first half," said Campisi. "We played better in the second half in terms of maintaining possession and passing the ball."

Shen did get a goal midway through the first half off a corner kick. Saratoga goaltender initially saved one shot, but the ball got to the feet of Connors and David Clemens, who both kicked at it to get it into the net. Connors was credited with the goal.

"Leading up to the goal, I thought Shen did have the better of the play," said Saratoga coach Jeff Geller. "They deserved to be up 1-0, but I was disappointed about the quality of the goal that we gave up."

Saratoga had a couple of chances to tie the game in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Will Johns broke in on a one-on-one with Mabee, but Mabee came off his line and stopped Johns' shot. Then, Tristan Frey had a shot lined up, but it sailed inches over the crossbar.

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