Rhinebeck soccer takes regional semifinals

Most teams would be content with a loss and call it a day.

The Rhinebeck Hawks varsity soccer team had advanced to state tournament regional play after their Section 9, Class B championship victory over Spackenkill. It was a pretty remarkable feat altogether, considering that Rhinebeck had made the jump from Class C to Class B competition. So to fall in the regionals as a first-year team would be expected, acceptable even; after all, established local teams rarely make it out of the round.

But the Hawks found a way. Or at least, Seth McClenahan did.

The Blind Brook Trojans were the de facto home team in the showdown at Arlington High School on Nov. 6, coming into the match with a 15-4 overall record. The Trojans played like they were supposed to be there, severely outshooting Rhinebeck and settling down for plays, it seemed, every couple of minutes.

But Blind Brook has a habit of sending shots just in front of or just beyond Rhinebeck’s goal. Coupled with some swarming defense, led by Hawk Aiden McKibben-Vaughn, the Trojans whiffed on some top-flight opportunities to put the game out of reach. Instead, they let Rhinebeck grab a foothold in the 11th minute, when McClenahan buzzed a shot in off a beautiful outlet pass.

After McClenahan’s goal, it was all Blind Brook. The Trojans were in control throughout the rest of the game, keeping the ball on Rhinebeck’s side and taking 11 shots. Purple let the Trojans flush their only bucket in the 31st minute, when Trojan Joe DiBeradino scurried through a pair of Rhinebeck defenders for a goal. In spite of a second-half onslaught –the Trojans outshot Rhinebeck 5-2 in the period, including some serious threats — the score held at 1-1, leading to a 15-minute, golden-goal overtime period.

And McClenahan was the golden boy. From 35 yards out, a minute and a half into the period, he dropped a 35-yard penalty shot into the Blind Brook net, ending their season and advancing the Hawks to the regional finals at Faller Field on Friday, Nov. 8.

“Right now, it’s tough to explain the feeling,” said Rhinebeck head coach Justin Wisenthal after the game. “It’s a lot to comprehend, but it does feel great.”

McClenahan, after the game, said that the long shot to put Rhinebeck over the top hangs with his best-ever shots. “It’s way up there,” he said. “Maybe top 5 — close to top 3. It was just incredible.”

“They definitely outplayed us throughout the game, but we found a way to make a couple go in,” he added.

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