Mechanicville and Guilderland battle to a 1-1 deadlock in boys' soccer – Times Union

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GUILDERLAND CENTER — There were no wide-open pastures of field for Mechanicville boys’ soccer scoring stars Andrew Kraszewski, Wyqie Aguda or Colin McNutt to feast upon Saturday. Instead, the top guns for the Red Raiders met with a great deal of resistance facing a Class AA foe in Guilderland, which is exactly what coach Mike Ciulla wanted to see.
Mechanicville has dominated Wasaren League competition once again this season after doing the same during the 2020 season contested during March and April this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ciulla wanted to see his squad, ranked No. 15 in the Class B state poll, match up against the 20th-ranked Class AA contingent from Guilderland.
The game was hotly-contested from the outset with each team creating ample scoring chances in the scoreless opening half. Guilderland went up 1-0 on a goal from junior midfielder Owen Shepard and the Red Raiders went down one player because of a red card midway through the second half. Even with the adversity, the Red Raiders struck with a tying goal from senior Ryan Grimmick and emerged with a hard-fought 1-1 tie.
“I love the fight,” Ciulla said. “Sometimes calls go your way and sometimes they don’t. There was a lot of slipping and sliding on the field. To tie it up a man down, that’s why we do this. That is why we play up to play this competition.”
“This is going to help for sectionals,” said Mechanicville senior defender Tom Hickey, one of the team’s three captains along with Kraszewski and Aguda. “We can definitely build off of this game. Tougher teams like this are going to prepare us for sectionals.”
Entering Saturday’s action, Mechanicville (12-0-1) overall had outscored its opposition 124-6. Thursday in a 9-0 Wasaren League decision over Hoosick Falls, Kraszewski eclipsed his own single-season school record for goals in a season he set during the spring as he scored three times to elevate his total to 38 — one better than his junior season over 15 games.
Although he had his moments against the Dutchmen, Kraszewski was unable to add to his goal total. Leaving the field, Ciulla certainly came away pleased with what his squad was able to accomplish.
“Oh yeah. I will take the tie against a AA school all day long,” Ciulla said. “It is more of what we took out of the game than the result.”
Guilderland (7-1-4 overall) generated the more dangerous scoring chances during the first half. Mechanicville junior goalie Dylan Raucci was equal to the task, making four exceptional saves that included a pair of sprawling stops.
“He played strong. You saw in the first half, he made a couple of great saves while on the ground,” Ciulla said of Raucci. “In practice, we test him. You look at our firepower on offense, that is what we give him in practice. He stepped up today.”
“We had some really good moments today,” said Guilderland senior standout Quinn Tynan, who created a great deal of havoc himself through some deft passes. “Mechanicville has a good team.”
The Dutchmen showed their skill in withstanding the offensive advances from the Red Raiders and creating some quality scoring chances on the counter-attack. Shepard put his team ahead as he converted a through ball from Tynan into the left corner of the net.
The Red Raiders later lost junior Fen Egan to a red card and played the final 20 minutes with 10 players. Mechanicville hung tough in the short-handed situation and eventually gained the equalizer when a long direct from Aguda found its way to Grimmick in the goal box. He pushed a shot past Guilderland goalie Cameron Frey (eight saves).
“This is the first time we have been battle-tested for 80 minutes,” Ciulla said. “Now we will go back and dissect it and figure out what we need to do to compete at the top level. There are certain things we can’t do against upper-echelon teams. We’ll build off of this.”
Raucci finished with 18 saves. Mechanicville plays another non-league contest Monday against South Glens Falls, a team currently in a three-way battle for the Foothills Council North Division’s top spot along with Schuylerville and Queensbury.
“I feel like this team definitely can make it to states,” Hickey said. “We gained confidence from this game.”
James Allen has covered Section II athletics since 1989. He also works as a broadcaster for local radio and television outlets. He joined the Times Union in 2006. He covers high school sports. Contact him at [email protected] or 518-454-5062.


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