September 13, 2012
Redemption for McGraw
Hitt’s two goals clip Cincy, 2-1
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Matt Lindley (20) of Cincinnatus battles McGraw’s Aaron Hitt (4) for possession during Wednesday’s early season Central Counties League soccer showdown. Hitt scored twice as visiting McGraw came away with a 2-1 victory.
CINCINNATUS — Talk about redemption.
Senior stopper Aaron Hitt had both goals for the McGraw Central boys’ soccer team Wednesday afternoon in its 2-1 win over Central Counties League host Cincinnatus.
It was the fourth time in as many games between the rivals — including three memorable meetings last year — that ended up being decided by one goal.
The finale of last year’s trilogy, a Section 3 Class D-1 semifinal contest matching the league co-champions, was decided on a sudden-death penalty kick by Cincy after Hitt was called for a foul in the box.
“I was the guy that fouled in the box last year in sectionals, and I came out determined not to let that happen again,” Hitt said. “I played a little smarter, took the shots that I had and with a bit of luck the ball fell in the right place.”
The two teams had played a scoreless first half in front of a large bipartisan crowd, Cincy with a 10-7 edge in shots and a bit of a territorial advantage, though the Eagles had their chances as well. It didn’t take long for the hosts to break the tie once the second half started. Senior forward Jesse Constantino took the ball down the right wing side, beat a defender cutting left and put a shot home past McGraw junior goalkeeper Ryan White for his third goal of the season.
“I told them at halftime to attack the end lines and not the goal,” said Cincy coach Gordon Brown, whose team, which has won or shared the last five CCL crowns, is now 1-1 in the league and suffered its first loss in four contests overall. “We lost nine seniors who saw starting time last year and this is a good little team, but we lack one thing — finishing. We don’t have anybody yet who can consistently go to the goal. Jesse’s goal was nice, and Matt Lindley (junior midfielder) was up and down the field, relentless, all game.”
The Red Lions’ lead was short-lived, however. Senior defender David Levitskiy put a shot on net soon after the ensuing kickoff that Cincy junior goalkeeper Shea Feehan went high for, the ball going off his hand and down in front of the net where Hitt was waiting to put it home just 39 seconds after Constantino’s goal.
“Nine times out of 10 that ball is punched or caught, but it fell on my feet and I put it in,” Hitt said.
The game-winner came with 12:38 remaining as Hitt took a line-drive free kick from just under 30 yards out on the near right-wing side. “I wasn’t marked so I took the shot and it went in,” Hitt said. “I saw an opening to the goalie’s left and knew his vision of me was blocked.”
Hitt now has three goals this season and five in his three-year varsity career. He noted that “Two of the others came in an 8-0 game.”
“Cincinnatus dominated a little in the first half; we let them control the field but our defense played solid,” Eagles coach Cory Smith said, his team now atop the league at 2-0 and with a 3-1 record overall. “I told our team at halftime that if Cincinnatus scored first to keep coming at them, and that’s what they did. Their goal was a nice one, but we made a mistake and after they scored we didn’t panic.
“Aaron is our stopper and was in the right place at the right time. He knows when to go up and stay back, and took good advantage of that.”
“We didn’t pick up on their second goal,” Brown said. “We were terrible on defense, and let him tee it up and shoot it. We should have had a goal in that 12-minute span after they went ahead. We kept pounding away, but couldn’t get one. This could be one of the best things that happens to this team; we stepped up hard after their go-ahead goal, especially for a team with some ninth- and 10th-graders. We’re a young team, and this is a building block.”
The final stats showed Cincy with a 20-13 shot advantage, Feehan with seven saves to just two for White.
“It feels great,” Hitt said of the win. “We knew we’d have to play well, and now we know we can beat Cincinnatus. They always play hard and are the best, but I think we can beat anybody in the league.”
Asked about a revenge factor from last year, Smith, with seven starters back — including one who sat out most of last year due to injury but started in 2010 — said that “It’s just a rivalry factor more than anything else. All the people here, all the people that come to the (SUNY Cortland) stadium game...when we play Cincy it’s a big game for everyone.
“This isn’t just important for this team but for the school and the community. The last couple of years it’s always been Cincinnatus; they’ve won the first game and we’ve had to come back. Now we’re in the driver’s seat; there’s a lot of work ahead and we can’t take anyone lightly.”
Both teams face league opponent DeRuyter in their next game, the Red Lions on the road Friday and the Eagles at home on Monday, both 4:30 p.m. starts. The rivals next meet Oct. 6 in the annual McGraw-Cincinnatus doubleheader at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex, their game at 7:30 p.m. after the girls’ teams from the two schools meet at 5:30 p.m.
DeRuyter 3, Madison 3: The Rockets opened their season by erasing 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to earn a tie on the road. Sophomore midfielder Mike Booth and junior forward Zach Wheeler scored in the first nine minutes of the second half to even the score at 2-2. After Dylan Diehl, who had the first two goals for the Blue Devils (0-1-1, 1-1-1), fed Dan Nassimos for a goal that made it 3-2, DeRuyter senior midfielder Connor Grime tallied for the final margin.
Senior goalie Lukas Benjamin made eight saves, including a stop on a first-half penalty kick, for the Rockets, while Madison’s Andrew Livermore made 13 saves.
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