MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. - Two bad hips weren't enough to stop Dylan Klein from making sure Carle Place left Faller Field at Middletown High School Saturday one win away from a state boys soccer championship.
Klein, a senior forward, scored a goal and assisted on two as Carle Place defeated Valatie Ichabod Crane, 3-1, in a Class B semifinal.
"And he's playing on one hip,'' coach Allen Foraker said.
Said Klein: "Two hip problems, actually. I'm wrapped up on both sides . . . I just have bad hip flexors on both sides. Since the county final game a few weeks ago, I felt them. I've been going to the chiropractor twice a week, but once you get them wrapped up, it's not so bad.''
With most of his lower body draped in bandages, Klein scored a goal on a blast from 10 yards with 13:13 left in the first half. Crane tied the score when Alex Niemann connected for a goal, placing the ball just out of the reach of goalkeeper John Guzzo with 5:28 left in the first half.
After twice going to the sideline to have his bandages readjusted and secured, Klein assisted on Billy Chiappone's goal with 2:48 left in the first to put Carle Place ahead 2-1. Klein dribbled past a double-team, slipped the ball through two other defenders and fed Chiappone, who cashed in from close range.
"Me and Billy have had a connection all year,'' Klein said. "I knew he was going behind the defender.''
Klein capped his performance with an assist on John Aydogan's goal with about two minutes left in the match.
Carle Place (17-0-1) will play Syracuse Westhill at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Middletown High School for the Class B state championship.
The Frogs had to neutralize Crane's high-powered offense, which averaged about six goals per game this season. Carle Place man-marked Crane (21-1-0) and allowed the Riders to move laterally but prevented them from penetrating toward the net.
"We knew it was a tough match because this team had scored a ton of goals,'' defender Eddie Cruz said. "Heading into the game, I would say there was a slight intimidation because of how much we heard about their offense, but after today I'm just so confident in us.''
While his teammates man-marked opponents, standout senior defender Matt Carr stayed behind and patrolled the backfield with a bevy of critical clears.
"I had to clean up whatever got by us,'' Carr said. "I like seeing the whole field and knowing where to distribute. But it was also nice to receive a bit of a cushion from the offense, especially late.''
For Carle Place, the goal is within reach. The objective all season, players said, has been to win a boys soccer state title for the first time in the school's history.
"That was the best team we played all year. They gave us a challenge,'' Klein said. "The goal was to make sure we play tomorrow, and I'm absolutely ready.''