YORKSHIRE - Randolph's game plan for Thursday's Section 6 Class C soccer semifinal was simple. Executing it, however, was a different story.
''We said before the game that if we can get 10 shots on goal, seven will go in,'' Cardinals' coach Dave Levandowski said, ''but I think we ended up with three or four.''
And when combined with the speed and scoring acumen of I-Prep junior forward Mohammed Hussein, Randolph saw its season come to an end following a 3-1 loss at Pioneer Central School.
Taylor Miller of Randolph, right, battles for the ball with I-Prep’s Mosleh Alameri in Thursday night’s Section 6 Class C semifinal game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
Fourth-seeded I-Prep (8-4-1) will now take on No. 2 Maple Grove (17-1-1) , a 3-0 winner over No. 11 Holland, in the sectional title game at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, also at Pioneer.
The loss was a tough one for the Cardinals (17-2), who had scored 63 goals on the season, including six in a quarterfinal win against Portville. But other than a first-half tally by junior midfielder Taylor Miller, Randolph never could find the back of the net again.
''We came in knowing that if we shot the ball a lot we had a chance,'' Levandowski said. ''Their center midfielder (freshman Poe Lawtoi) is so hard to get around because he's big and fast.''
Fast was the operative word when Levandowski described Hussein, who tallied his goals at 22:09 of the first half and at 10:30 of the second, the latter courtesy of a nifty header from a corner kick. He now has 14 goals on the season.
''This is the fastest team I've had,'' Levandowski said, ''but that kid is probably the fastest kid I've ever seen in high school with a ball on his foot. That header he had in the second half was unbelievable.''
I-Prep's other goal was by senior midfielder Abdikadir Sabtow at 12:07 of the first half. It was his ninth of the year.
''We started a little slow and it looked like we had a little bit of early game jitters,'' Levandowski. ''But we settled down and I really thought we outplayed them in the second half. The chances didn't seem to go in for us.''
The Cardinals' lone goal was by Miller, who celebrated his birthday, by making a nice move around an I-Prep defender and drilling a shot past the goalie at the 10:30 mark of the first half. The goal, his fourth, trimmed the deficit to 2-1, but Randolph couldn't muster another goal, although it had several chances late in the second half.
''Give a lot of credit to the guys,'' Levandowski said when looking at the season in its entirety. ''To improve that much is not an easy task. We only lose three seniors so we'll be coming back pretty strong next year.''