Peter Paluch’s goal 15 minutes into the second half snapped a 1-all tie and second-seeded Oneonta High went on to a 3-1 victory over visiting Dryden on Saturday to advance to the Section Four Class B boys soccer final for the fifth straight year.
Paluch headed in a throw-in from Kragh Delello.
“He’s not the tallest guy, but he challenged for it,” OHS coach Alex Brannan said of Paluch’s goal from 12 yards. “I said, ‘Boy, you really climbed the ladder there.’”
The Yellowjackets (12-4) will play fourth-seeded Chenango Forks (9-7) in the final Saturday at the Wright National Soccer Campus. OHS is looking for its third sectional title in five years. Forks upset second-seeded Susquehanna Valley, 1-0, in overtime Saturday.
Jacob Czapranski scored on a free kick to give the Lions a 1-0 lead 2:12 into play.
Theo Malone tied the score for OHS 12 minutes later.
Ian Oliver capped the scoring with 10 minutes left, one-timing a pass from Delello.
“That took a pressure off with 10 minutes to go,” said Brannan, whose team has played Susquehanna Valley in the last two sectional finals, winning, 3-2, in 2011 and dropping a 5-2 decision last season.
Added Brannan: “It was an aggressive game, more aggressive than we’ve ever had against them. We composed ourselves. We gave up another early goal, but that was a mistake in the back that we talked about. It wasn’t that we weren’t ready to play.”
The Yellowjackets split two games against Forks, winning at home, 2-1, early in the season and falling, 3-1, at Forks.
“The first time we played them it was the second game of the season and other time was on turf,” Brannan said. “The bottom line is whoever comes to play will win it. We can’t give up early goals and then fight back. As you get deeper and deeper in the sectionals, good teams usually don’t give up leads. It’s good that we’re at home. We’ve won every game at home.”