Anne Delaney

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Delaney: 9 area teams in state soccer poll

The weekly state soccer poll is out and nine area teams are ranked, including two schools that has its boys and girls in the poll.
Mohawk and Hamilton Central have that honor. The Mohawk boys remain undefeated and are sixth in Class C. The Mohawk girls are 15th. In Class D, the Hamilton girls are undefeated and ranked seventh. The Emerald Knights boys team, with one loss, is 14th.
The other area teams in the rankings are: Clinton girls (seventh in Class B); and Remsen (14th in Class D). On the boys side, it's Mount Markham (15th in Class B); Cooperstown (15th in Class C); and state runner-up and three-time defending Section III Class D champ Poland (5th in Class D).
Chazy, the team that defeated Poland in the state finals last year, is ranked No. 1 in boys Class D.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Delaney: Thank you, Mary

Where would I be without Mary Garber?
Maybe I'd be rich. Maybe I'd be famous. Maybe I'd be unknown and a candidate for Vice President of the United States. But I wouldn't have a chance to be what I am now: a woman covering sports.
Mary Garber died on Sunday in North Carolina. She was 92 and covered sports at a time when women were banned from press boxes and water fountains were segregated. I'd heard of Garber before I read an obituary on Monday afternoon, but it was long ago and I would've been hard pressed to name her in a quiz.
Garber covered high school sports and colleges, including sports at all-black colleges that were largely ignored. Eventually Garber worked her way up to covering the ACC. If not Garber, some other woman would've come along as a pioneer in sports journalism. I'm grateful to Mary because I'm not qualified to be vice president.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Delaney: Rivalry games not always good

The Hamilton-Poland boys soccer game on Friday (Sept. 19) reminded me of another rivalry match I saw earlier in the week.
Like Whitesboro-New Hartford on Tuesday, the Class D game at Poland didn't start out with a lot of clean soccer. The ball bounced around more than it was controlled on the Poland field at least in the early going. It was a big match, the first between league rivals vying for a league title, as was Whitesboro at New Hartford. And the players knew it. Poland got a yellow card and Hamilton did, too. The play was physical, just like at New Hartford where the officials issued four yellows - two for each team.
At least 175 people stood along a sideline at Poland to watch the game. The turnout at New Hartford the other day wasn't close to that, but it was a weekday so that's understandable.
Rivalry games are great. They are a lot of fun to watch and with good history between the teams and the fans, such games are what high school sports are all about. But give me a clean game between two unfamiliar teams any day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Anne Delaney: Mohawk's Brotherly Connection

The undefeated Mohawk boys soccer team needed two goals in the final 16:30 to defeat CSC rival Ilion, 3-2 on Wednesday.
Leigh Van Volkenburg scored 2:10 into the second half for Ilion to put the Golden Bombers up 2-1.
John LeClair tied the game for Mohawk (8-0) on a second-half penalty kick with 16:26 left. LeClair scored the game-winner on a breakaway with 46 seconds remaining on an assist from his brother, Billy.  

Anne Delaney: Not the best soccer, but Whitesboro-New Hartford had lots for fans

In the end, they lined up and acknowledged the opponent as they were supposed to.
After 90-minutes, 31 seconds of soccer, four yellow cards and at least four clock stoppages to allow a New Hartford trainer to attend to the injured, the members of New Hartford and Whitesboro boys soccer teams uttered 'nice game' in low voices as they filed past each other at Perry Junior High School. 
The quality of soccer wasn't stellar between the Tri Valley League rivals who came into the match unbeaten in the league. Neither established possession in the first half. New Hartford had the upper hand in this area for most of the second half, but Vinny Barbato gave Whitesboro a 3-2 win with a goal 31 seconds into the second 10-minute sudden death overtime. 
"They wanted it so bad, they went all out," Whitesboro coach Ben Karas said of his team, which trailed 2-1 with less than two minutes to play in regulation. "It's that rivalry between New Hartford and Whitesboro." 
Both teams had at least one good shot on goal in the first 10-minute OT. New Hartford's Joel Kamilow went left to right with a good shot at Whitesboro keeper Scott Barry. With 22 seconds remaining, Nathaniel Mansur got the ball in the open field for New Hartford. Mansur beat Kevin Donato to give the senior a one-on-one with Barry. Mansur overran the play and his momentum carried him wide left to keep the game tied.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Anne Delaney: Not running up the score

There was more to Sauquoit Valley's 7-0 win over Canastota in boys soccer on Monday night.
Indians coach Rick Purcell played the second half with 10 men on the field after scoring all their goals in the first half. Canastota is a young team, not long ago the Raiders were not able to field a varsity team. Purcell's move was not only legal - teams can play with as few as 7 men on the field. Purcell's decision was a nice way not to embarrass an opponent.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rays for Real

Matt Devins is a believer.
He wasn't always sure the Tampa Bay Rays, leading the American League East by two games through Saturday, were going to be able to hold on in a division dominated by the Yankees and Red Sox.
But the young team has surprised many by staying in the race including Devins, a former member of the organization after stand out careers at Notre Dame High School and Stony Brook University. Devins, 25, gave pro ball a try for three years with the franchise then known as the Devil Rays. He left baseball late last year after he was released by the team. Devins declined offers this summer to play in the Marlins and Braves organizations. Soured for a time by the game he spent most of his life playing, Devins is able to enjoy baseball again and to root for guys he played with.
"I think they are the real deal with all of the wins against formidable A.L. East opponents, you have to give them a shot," Devins said. "They have a realistic shot of winning the division and ultimately making it deep into the playoffs."
At one point or another, Devins said he had contact with most of the Tampa players now on the Major League roster. The team sent players to Devins' team in Vero Beach to rehab an injury because of the proximity to Tampa-St. Petersburg. Among the guys in Vero were catchers Dioner Navarro and Shawn Riggans. Devins had two experiences with Rays manager Joe Maddon - certainly the A.L. Manager of the Year - during spring training practices with the big club.
"He had a firm grip on the team and that's not always easy," Devins said.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hamilton, Poland rivalry to watch in 2008

The boys soccer preview will be in Saturday's Observer-Dispatch (Sept. 13). It's running a little later than intended, sorry about that. It's a busy time of year for people involved with high school athletics and getting in touch with multiple groups of coaches is a challenge - even in the era of e-mail.
Poland senior midfielder Richard Hazard is the subject of the feature story. Hazard, a four-year varsity player for the Tornadoes, has settled into the midfield after splitting his time between the midfield and the forward line in 2007.
The Center State Conference Division III race between Poland and Hamilton Central will be worth watching all season. It might be the most compelling division/league race in the area. The Class D rivals have met six times in the last three years, including in the Section III semifinals in 2007 won by Poland. The teams play for the first time this year on Sept. 19 at Poland (4:30 p.m.) and on Oct. 14 in Hamilton (7 p.m.).
This might be Hamilton's year to get past the Tornadoes. The Emerald Knights return nine starters from 2007, including three defenders (Alex Thompson, Bobby Dick and Brandon Meek) in front of returning starting GK Will Keever.
Poland has eight guys back, but the team that went to the state finals last November took a hit when senior defender Mike Hennings was lost for the season with a knee injury. Hennings, a sweeper, was a physically imposing presence in the back for Poland and his absence will be difficult to fill. Sal Collard, another senior defender who was a starter last year, is also out after having knee surgery in the spring.
In other area action:
* look for intense football rivals Whitesboro and New Hartford to bring their rivalry to the pitch in the Tri Valley League. Defending league champion Clinton is very young, with one starter back. New Hartford's top two scoring leaders graduated, including O-D All Mohawk Valley Player of the Year Michael Payne who's now at Old Dominion, but the Spartans played a challenging early-season schedule and are well coached. Whitesboro has the TVL's top returning scorer in junior forward Vinny Barbato (10-8-28). Midfielder Mike Gigliotti is also back as one of the starters with defender Joe Rucco and GK Scott Barry (1.22 GAA, 8 SO).
* In CSC Division I, Mohawk is off to a 5-0 start but the best player in the league is Frankfort-Schuyler midfielder Leo Nizzi. Ilion senior forward Cory Rowland (12-5-29) can give Nizzi a run and Ilion has eight other returning starters.
* In CSC Division II, Cooperstown is turning into the Clinton of this league - the Redskins always seem to reload and manage to stay competitive. Sophomore forward Jake Chase is a talent and returns as the team's leading scorer with 10 goals, 9 assists (29 points). The team will be pressed by Mount Markham. Dinged with injuries in 2007, the Mustangs have their best team since 2003 when the team shared the Section III Class C title with Manlius-Pebble Hill. M-PH advanced in a shootout, and the match in the Carrier Dome remains one of the best high school games I've covered. Blair Bellamy, a possession-type midfielder, didn't play much in 2007 because of a bad hip. He's back, as are the top two scorers a pair of junior forward in Tayron Ixlaj and Jeremy Slosek.
*Rome Free Academy and Thomas R. Proctor play in the Central New York Counties League, Class AA league dominated by Syracuse-area schools. RFA, with first-year coach Keith Meola who came from Camden after that school was unable to field a varsity team, is off to a 4-0 start. The Black Knights' record includes an overtime win over Proctor on Sept. 9. Meola is looking for midfielder Mario Gomez to be the sparkplug for his team, a guy who get 8-10 goals and 12-15 assists. Proctor should continue the nice season it had in 2007 when Nick Galiulo took over. The Raiders return a pair of junior forwards, Osman Osman (8-13-19) and Armin Budjno (13-3-29), a guy a couple coaches think is the best forward in the area.



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

D'Alessandro Thriller

The game of Tuesday night was at Thomas R. Proctor where the Raiders boys soccer team went to overtime with visiting Rome Free Academy. 
RFA's Mike Endres converted a PK called off a hand ball two minutes into OT to give the Black Knights a 2-1 win. A tough way to lose, for sure, but both coaches said it was a great game.
The teams play again on Sept. 20 at 12 p.m. at RFA Stadium.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Educational experience for Mustangs field hockey

Earlier this week, the Mount Markham varsity field hockey team returned from a trip to Orlando, Fla. where the Mustangs competed in a tournament at the Disney Sports Complex.
Coach Dawn Yerkie took 16 players to Disney where they played three games against bigger schools - two against teams from New Jersey and one against a team from Delaware.
The experience was beneficial on and off of the field. The players, who had plenty of time for sightseeing, learned there was a world beyond their lives in West Winfield.
"Certainly for our girls it was an eye opener beyond the field hockey realm," said Yerkie, the principal at Mount Markham Middle School. "They realized there are educational opportunities out there and things to do."
And that is what high schools sports should be about.