The Voorheesville boys soccer team got the signature win it was looking for against the state's top-ranked Class A squad.
Hayden Wood's goal with less than 13 minutes left in the second half proved to be the difference as the Blackbirds defeated Schalmont 2-1 in Friday's Colonial Council game in Voorheesville.
\It's a good way to go into the second half of the season for us, said Voorheesville coach Willie Sanchez.
Voorheesville (5-1-2 league, 6-1-2 overall) caught a fortuitous bounce to get on the scoreboard first. Andrew Cole's long free kick bounced off the head of a Schalmont defender and past Sabre goaltender Steve Oliveira to give the Blackbirds a 1-0 lead early in the second half.
"It's hard to give up an own goal," said Schalmont coach Jason Beck. "From an emotional standpoint, it can bring a team down."
The Sabres (7-1-0, 9-1-0) had a chance to tie the game a short time later, but Voorheesville goaltender Joe Keenan stopped a close-range shot to maintain the Blackbirds' slim lead.
"In a big game, you need a goalie who can make big plays, and he made a big play on that one," Sanchez said of Keenan.
The two sides kept going hard after the ball, which results in several fouls. But as the calls mounted, Voorheesville kept its cool while a couple of Schalmont players were handed yellow cards.
"I think this was a turning point for us," said Sanchez. "We're starting to mature as a team. If we played this game earlier in the season, we might have lost our composure in a game like this."
Voorheesville was rewarded for its composure later in the second half when Wood received Evan Campana's crossing pass at the top of the penalty box and kicked the ball into the left side of the Schalmont goal for a 2-0 Blackbird lead.
Schalmont got one goal back when Drake Sichak scored on a penalty kick in the 72nd minute, but that was all that Voorheesville allowed in handing the Sabres their first loss of the season.
"It's really hard to go through a season undefeated, especially in a league like ours," said Beck. "We've got work to do.""