ONEONTA — Roberto Sarabia just needed a little time.
Sarabia broke the ice during Wednesday’s Section Four Class D Tournament semifinal with 1 minute, 20 seconds left, leading top-seeded Margaretville to a 4-0 boys soccer victory over Gilboa at the Wright National Soccer Campus.
“It was a tough game,” said Margaretville coach Jeremey Marks, whose unbeaten team will play third-seeded Davenport (14-3) on Saturday in an all-Delaware League sectional final back at the WNSC. “I don’t think the score was really indicative of how close the game was. I think it was closer.”
It couldn’t have been any closer during the first half as the 13th-seeded Wildcats (10-7) played the reigning Delaware League champions to a scoreless deadlock for almost all of it. Brett Potter and Christian Cooper each had back saves with goalie Philip Berger (11 saves) out of position to keep Gilboa even.
Sarabia showed off his tracking skills as the half wound down, though. He followed a bouncing ball on a missed clear inside the 18-yard box and volleyed in a 12-yarder from the left side to the near post, giving the Blue Devils (17-0) a 1-0 lead.
“We gave them everything we could give them in the first half,” Gilboa coach Dan McGlynn said. “They’re such a good team and they come at you with so many subs.”
Sarabia also set up the first goal of the second half, stealing the ball in the right corner of Gilboa’s end and sending a high cross to Kyle Short. His header made it 2-0 nine minutes into the second half, and the Blue Devils were far from finished.
Twenty minutes later, Berger saved an 8-yard shot by Matt Van Valkenburg — off a corner kick from Sarabia — but Cooper Reither was in the perfect spot to clean it up. Reither ran through the rebound for a 5-yard goal to the near side and a 3-0 lead.
Van Valkenburg capped the scoring four minutes later, tucking in a lofted cross from Victor Mendoza for the final margin.
“Going into halftime, 1-0, is good, but we settled down, passed a bit more and guys started moving off the ball a lot better,” said Marks, whose team is looking to win its first sectional title since 2009. “So you get better opportunities.”
Gilboa nearly avoided the shutout, but Margaretville’s Sam Gil cleared Zak Perry’s chip shot off the line with 20 seconds to go.
“For us, we made school history,” McGlynn said. “I can’t remember the last time a team has been in the sectional semifinals for the boys. I mean, to be a 13-seed and get to the semifinals, it’s a good season for us.”
Margaretville beat Cherry Valley-Springfield, 2-1, for the 2009 sectional title, then fell, 2-0, to Hamilton in the state-quarterfinal round.
There will be no sectional-title rematch this season, though, as the second-seeded Patriots were upset by Davenport, 2-1, in Wednesday’s other semifinal at the WNSC.
“They’re a familiar foe and we’re going to prepare for them in the next couple days,” said Marks, whose team earned a 3-0 regular-season home victory over Davenport on Sept. 10.
Margaretville 4, Gilboa 0
SECTION FOUR CLASS D
Semifinal at WNSC
Gilboa 0 0 – 0
Margaretville 1 3 – 4
13-Gilboa (10-7): None.
1-Margaretville (17-0): Roberto Sarabia 1-1, Cooper Reither 1-0, Matt Van Valkenburg, Kyle Short 1-0, Victor Mendoza 0-1.
Shots-corner kicks: G 2-3; M 15-9.
Goalies: Philip Berger (G) 11; Marvin Morales (M) 0.