NEWBURGH — As Queensbury posed for a postgame team photo, the commands of Aidan Jordi-Donnelly were heard loudest.
“Heads up, no shame guys,” the senior cried. “No shame, boys. No shame.”
It is a message Jordi-Donnelly wanted to make clear even though his Spartans had just lost 2-1 to Somers in a Class A semifinal of the State Boys Soccer Tournament at Mount Saint Mary College on Saturday.
“There are so many teams in the Class A soccer division,” Jordi-Donnelly said. “I consider us to be the third-best team now. To lose to who I hope will be the state champion, there is no shame in that. Every team’s season ends in a loss except for one and we showed we could take (Somers) to the final seconds.”
It took the entire 80 minutes for Somers to finally dagger the Spartans.
With 46 seconds to play, the Tuskers crossed a pass in front and senior captain Jon Riina buried the game-winning header, ending Queensbury’s season with a record of 19-2.
Even while hope was slipping away, it was Jordi-Donnelly who continued to emphasize the Spartans’ crest on their jerseys. Flashing the white, screen-printed emblem repeatedly to teammates and spectators, Jordi-Donnelly knew he was likely enduring his last dance.
As the final seconds of his high school soccer career ticked away, he never stopped making it clear who, and what, he was playing for.
That same energy is what propelled Queensbury to find its equalizing goal seven minutes prior, a point it was searching for desperately.
It took the Spartans 39 minutes to respond after Somers scored late in the first half, but when Queensbury needed a counter-punch, of course, Jordi-Donnelly was there.
His goal came on a wild scramble in front of the net, one coach Pete Crotty admitted he thought went in before it actually did. But eventually, the Spartans’ grit got them the nasty goal it needed.
“At halftime, I said we could be dangerous on restarts if we got the ball into the box, and the kids went in and dug it out,” Crotty said. “The ball was bouncing around and the keeper sort of got a save on it and then it came back out, but I thought it was going in.
“But it didn’t, then Aidan found a way to get it in. That is some grit and heart just to figure out a way to get in there and poke it in,” Crotty added.
Crotty knew the Spartans were facing a talented Somers group, as the Tuskers won their regional final in blowout fashion and won the Class A state championship in 2016.
Riina and fellow senior captain Lucas Fecci both played on Somers’ title team and each scored on the Spartans on Saturday.
After Riina’s final-minute goal, the Spartans rushed to score, but there was simply not enough time.
Queensbury will graduate 10 seniors, and Crotty was emotional after the game talking about his group.
“They’ve worked so hard over the past four years and beyond that with our modified group and offseason stuff. They’ve been such great leaders,” Crotty said. “They are warriors and you could see that today.
“They wanted to will themselves to the final, and we got pretty darn close. There are not many words that can describe it other than that I am so proud of them,” he said.
Reaching back-to-back final fours is rare at any level and Queensbury has the tools to make this same trip again next season.
Though talents like Jordi-Donnelly won’t be back, the Spartans should return 15 of this year’s juniors, including leading scorer Teddy Borgos.
“There is no shame. We played our hearts out. And you know what?” Jordi-Donnelly said. “This group has a great core and they are going to be back here next year, and I hope to watch them do it.”
Class A State Semifinal
Somers (18-3) 1 1 — 2
Queensbury (19-2) 0 1 — 1
First half: 1, Somers, Lucas Fecci , 33:37.
Second half: 2, Queensbury, Adian Jordi-Donnelly, 72:28 3, Somers, Jon Rinna, 79:14.
Goalies-saves: Ethan Willis (Q) 9, Connor O’ Donoghue (S) 7.
Corner kicks: Queensbury 4, Somers 10.