Queensbury nearly has it all. That much has been established.
Over the past two years, the Spartans have lost a mere two games and allowed only 22 goals in 41 total wins.
Offensively, the Spartans can score in bunches. Talented playmakers like Teddy Borgos, who leads Queensbury with 31 goals, and Aidan Jordi-Donnelly command detailed defensive attention.
But one thing coach Pete Crotty wondered was if this group of Spartans had the toughness to reach a state final four.
He got his answer last Saturday when Queensbury battled back from a one-goal deficit to beat Fulton 2-1 in a regional final. The Spartans also overcame the elements, as they battled harsh rain and wind at Liverpool.
“I was waiting to see what kind of grit this team had,” Crotty said. “And they have it. They do because they battled and fought, which got us through. They willed themselves to that win. They wanted to get back to the final four and that kind of took over after we got scored on.”
Junior Alex Roca scored the biggest goal of the Spartans’ season after Queensbury was down 1-0. It sounds like a shot Queensbury will remember forever, especially if this run ends where they hope it will.
“I’m not going to lie, when he made that shot, I was like, ‘I hate you. Why did you hit that?’” teammate Drew Crawford said with a laugh. “But as soon as he scored, I was like ‘thank God.’”
“When he scored, everyone was like ‘oh my God,’ then he ran over to his father on the sideline and they were in the middle of the celebration,” Borgos said. “That pushed us toward getting Duffy’s goal at the end.”
Brendan Duffy scored the game-winner with 17 seconds to play, punching Queensbury’s repeat trip to the final four in the Newburgh/Middletown area. The Spartans will meet Somers at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
“It showed our team’s mental fortitude and ability to stick together there,” Jordi-Donnelly said. “Sometimes in a game like that, teammates could turn on each other, but we stuck together and fought back. Roca scored a big goal and when you get goals like that it completely changes momentum.”
Last year, Queensbury lost in the state final to Vestal 4-0. Though several players from that team are back this season, this is still a different group according to Crotty, which makes perfect sense.
That did not stop several Spartans from mentioning how they have no interest in earning another second-place plaque.
Jordi-Donnelly doesn’t even know where his state runner-up medal is.
Vestal is not back in the final four, but Crotty said the three other remaining teams are extremely talented — starting with Somers, who won a state championship in 2016.
Queensbury, however, brings their own valuable experience back to the state tournament. Last year was Crotty’s first trip to a state final as a head coach, and he said learning from 2017 is vital.
“I’ve certainly learned a few things and it is the logistical things for us (coaches) mostly,” Crotty said. “For the older kids, who have been there, the bright lights won’t be so bright because they have been through it.”
Even though Foothills Council and even Section II titles have started piling up, Queensbury has never won a boys state soccer championship.
Players are aware of that and plan on changing it.
“Our program is well-known and respected throughout the area, but when you think of Queensbury, you think of Queensbury football,” Jordi-Donnelly said. “If soccer can win a title then people will think Queensbury has a good soccer (team), not just a good football team.”