VERONA – Throughout this fall, the Manlius Pebble Hill men’s soccer team was motivated to earn another title in honor of coach Don Ridall, who founded the program and retired after the 2021 season.
And the Trojans almost reached the top, only to be denied at the last stage by Fabius-Pompée, who had plenty of motivation and, by a 1-0 margin, edged out MPH in Tuesday night’s section final at Vernon-Verona – Sherrill High School.
In the Falcons’ case, the hunger stemmed from reaching the Class C sectional finals in 2019 (against Cooperstown) and Class D in 2021 (against Poland) and losing those games on both occasions.
Just getting here required FP, the no. 4-seeded, to survive penalties in the quarter-finals against Hamilton, then overthrow top-seeded Poland in the semi-finals.
MPH, from a no. 10-seeded, had won away three times in the sectional tournament, overtaking McGraw 4-0 and then knocking out the no. 2 seeded Lyme (2-1) and no. 3 seeded Mater Dei Academy (1-0), earning a shot against a Falcons team they faced on September 24 and lost 2-0.
Here it would turn out to be closer. The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with each team getting chances to score but unable to convert which left the game 0-0 before the break.
More than 20 minutes passed in the second half and the stalemate remained. Then, with 19 minutes remaining, FP earned a corner kick down the left side. Taylor Keller’s pass found Dana Ingersoll, who flicked the ball past Will Markwood into the net.
From there, the Falcons were able to hang on, winning the section title and ending MPH’s first season under new head coach Tim Goldman with a 10-7-1 mark.
The Trojans should feel good going into 2023, because although Markwood, Ayman El-Hindi and Alex Fung, the entire defensive unit – Jeff Pisciarino, Ayden Whitted, Brody Cook and Andy Lurvey – should return, as will most of the top players front line. .