BROADALBIN -- Stephen Spraker and his fellow seniors on the Broadalbin-Perth boys soccer team have been waiting a long time for this moment.
Dominant at the modified and junior varsity level, this group of Patriots has worked for years to put themselves in position to win a Section II title -- and maybe more -- and Wednesday night they started the path to that goal, cruising to a 9-0 win over Catholic Central in the opening round of the Section II Class B playoffs.
"This is all we've been thinking about for three years is this moment," Spraker said. "It's everything we wanted."
Spraker had two goals and three assists for the top-seeded Patriots (16-0-1), who opened the scoring a minute into the match and never looked back. Griffin Goodemote added two goals and an assist for B-P, Jake Cope chipped in a goal and two assists and Preston Taylor, Ryan Zajaceskowski, Jared Eipp and Jon Murphy all scored.
The Patriots outshot 16th-seeded CCHS (1-16) 48-1, had an 18-0 advantage in corner kicks and forced Crusaders goalkeeper into 25 saves. Meanwhile, B-P goalie Ian Halloran needed to make only one save to record his 12th shutout of the season and the 28th of his career, moving him one away from Chris Herba's school record.
"This is the style of soccer that we play," B-P coach Brian Henry said. "I thought we did a nice job possessing the ball and negating any opportunities that they'd have, and we scored some nice goals. We got everybody involved, and now we're moving on to the second round."
Barely a minute into the match, the Patriots struck in a way that's become all too familiar -- Spraker's flip throw. After an extended sequence of passes, B-P earned a throw-in deep in Catholic Central's defensive end, Spraker launched the ball into the box and Taylor directed it into the net.
The flip throw has been a potent weapon for the Patriots this season, and one that the player delivering them believes gives them an advantage over opponents -- even though, by this point, every Patriots foe knows it's coming.
"The past two or three years, I'd do it about the same amount and we couldn't finish off it. This group of kids, they know how to finish," Spraker said. "We're pushing for that more than we are for corners, really. The keepers have a hard time judging it, as well as the defenders."
The Crusaders opted to play against the Patriots using flat back four on defense, as opposed to the diamond alignment they see against most teams, and it played right into B-P's free-flowing, creative style.
"As soon as we saw what they were doing, it brought a smile to our face because it kind of feeds into our style of soccer," Henry said. "We executed it very well. Nothing against them, but they were outmatched."
Goodemote, Cope and Spraker added goals in the first half to give B-P a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes, and the Patriots poured it on after halftime. Zajaceskowski scored a gorgeous side volley, Spraker blasted a half-volley off a cross from Cope, Goodemote beat Miller with a soft chip shot, Eipp hit a curling 20-yard shot for a goal and Murphy banged a shot in off a defender following a corner kick to wrap up the rout.
With the win, B-P advanced to the quarterfinal round, where the Patriots will host No. 9 seed Tamarac Friday at 6 p.m. in Broadalbin, with the winner earning a spot in next week's semifinals at Mohonasen High School.
"This was a good way to start off the tournament," Spraker said. "I can't wait for Friday."
Contact ADAM SHINDER at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Cooper / Recorder Staff Broadalbin-Perth's Preston Taylor (5) defends Catholic Central's Peter Manley (99) during the Section II Class B first-round playoff game on Wednesday, October 19, at Broadalbin-Perth High School.