Blue Bombers soccer season underway

Ethan Leibeck dribbles the ball for Willsboro while Blue Bombers Sam Le and Christopher Byrne (8) close in to defend on the play during action Saturday, Oct. 3. News photo — Lou Reuter

LAKE PLACID — Prior to Saturday, Oct. 3, it had been 210 days since any Lake Placid team or student-athlete had participated in a competition against an opponent from another high school.

That unfortunate string prompted by the coronavirus came to an end for the Blue Bombers, as their girls and boys varsity soccer squads were back in action playing their first matches of the shortened and delayed seasons.

So far, Lake Placid’s girls have a 1-1 record after winning their first match and falling in their next start, while the Blue Bombers boys dropped their opening match.

Willsboro provided the competition for both Blue Bombers teams on opening day. Lake Placid’s strong, experienced girls squad traveled to face the Warriors and claimed an impressive 6-1 victory on the road. Meanwhile, Lake Placid’s boys entered their home matchup missing some key players and dropped a 2-1 decision to Willsboro at the North Elba Show Grounds.

Olivia Ferebee fueled Lake Placid with some big-time firepower when she pumped in four goals, which all came within a span of less than seven minutes. Dariana Patterson and Webber Hemsley each added single tallies in the win.

News photo — Lou Reuter Lake Placid junior Will Douglas advances the ball while drawing a trio of Willsboro defenders Brady Sweatt (1), Nicholas Reithel and Jaycob Gough (20) during a match on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the North Elba Show Grounds field. Also pictured for the Blue Bombers is Matt Brandes.

Patterson got Lake Placid going scoring the game’s first goal with 7:40 remaining in the opening half. Ferebee, a freshman, then took over. She netted her first of the match 2:05 before halftime, and then added her next three early in the second half. Ferebee buried her next tally just 36 seconds after intermission to up Lake Placid’s lead to 3-0, and followed with goals at the 3:24 and 4:36 marks to put her team firmly in command.

The teams then traded a goal each down the stretch. Jenna Ford scored for Willsboro 5:06 into the second half and Hemsley answered for Lake Placid with the game’s final goal.

Lake Placid outshot Willsboro 23-4. Arnita Cecunjanin was credited with three saves in net for the Blue Bombers and the junior also picked up an assist on Ferebee’s fourth goal. Patterson and Lilly Fisher added an assist each in the victory.

Abby Bruno recorded 16 saves in goal for Willsboro.

Lake Placid’s boys brought a depleted roster into its season-opener against Willsboro, and the Blue Bombers put up a fight before falling in overtime.

Willsboro scored its lone goal of regulation on a direct kick from near mid field with just five seconds left in the opening half. The Blue Bombers evened the match near the middle of the second half on a beautiful shot by Matt Brandes from about 30 yards out.

The Warriors then won the match in overtime on a play that started on a direct kick and ended when Willsboro’s Stephen Leibeck gained control of a loose ball in the penalty area and sent it home 4:07 into the extra period.

Despite the loss, Lake Placid coach Stuart Hemsley was pleased with what he saw from his young team, which was missing some veteran attackers up front. The Blue Bombers were further hampered by the loss of starting goaltender Jack Armstrong, who was injured in the first half

“Willsboro has eight seniors and I had seven kids playing their first varsity match,” Hemsley said. “I was very happy with our play.”

Hemsley described one of those varsity newcomers, sophomore Alex Wright, as the “Man of the Match.”

“Alex Wright grew up on Saturday,” Hemsley said. “He was strong on the ball, strong moving the ball and not afraid of anybody.”

Although the Blue Bombers couldn’t pull out the victory, Hemsley said it was great to see his players finally have the opportunity to compete in a real match.

“With the guys we were missing, to come out of this with a 1-nil loss, I have to be happy,” he said. “We finished with 11 players and we went through three goalies, but the kids never quit. Just to see their parents be able to come out and see their kids play, that was great.”

On Tuesday, Lake Placid’s girls suffered a 1-0 setback on the road to Moriah. Although the Blue Bombers out shot the Vikings 18-14, they were unable to get a shot past Moriah goalkeeper Hannah Gaddor, who was credited with a dozen saves.

Sage Baker netted the only goal of the game, scoring on a corner kick play at the 8:19 mark of the second half with Mikenna Valentine picking up the assist.