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Half Hollow Hills West has tough day in state Class AA final

The Colts’ season ends with an 18-4-2 record after a heroic battle and a victory in the state semifinal.

Half Hollow Hills West's Zachary Dahl, left, takes a

Half Hollow Hills West's Zachary Dahl, left, takes a shot on goal during the state Class AA boys soccer championship against McQuaid Jesuit on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Middletown, N.Y. Photo Credit: Jack McCoy

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — There would be no great comeback, nor magic in penalty kicks for the Half Hollow Hills West boys soccer team on Sunday.

The Colts ran into a buzzsaw better known as Rochester McQuaid Jesuit, the top Class AA team in the state, and a top-five, nationally-ranked team, as well.

McQuaid scored three goals in each half as Hills West lost, 6-0, in the state Class AA final at Middletown High School’s Faller Field.

“Today’s result was not what we wanted,” Hills West coach Doug Gannon said. “We faced a fantastic Catholic school from Rochester, and bottom line, they were better than us.”

McQuaid (22-0) scored two goals 29 seconds apart, the latter with 12:58 left in the first half for a 2-0 lead. The Colts soon had one of their best chances of the afternoon, but Knights goalkeeper Tommy Gallina made a diving stop to keep it 2-0. Dominic Duncan scored his second goal in the 36th minute and the Knights took a 3-0 lead into the half.

Hills West (18-4-2) had played 110 minutes of soccer plus penalty kicks in a thrilling state semifinal less than 24 hours earlier. The Colts were also were without one of their best players, senior defender Nicholas Duchatellier, who had a red-card suspension and could not play in the final.

“This hurts right now,” said Gannon, in his 15th year with the Colts. “These boys wanted to win the state title in AA, and being one of the smaller AA schools in the state, not to do it is tough.”

Gannon played 30 of the 33 players on his roster and gave many of his starters a curtain call and huge hug after he subbed them out. It’s a lesson he learned from John Ruffini, his coach at Hauppauge.

Gannon had a great moment when he subbed out the Colts’ leading scorer, Leo Musacchia, after the Knights’ sixth goal.

“He just said, ‘Thank you,’ ” said Musacchia, who had 13 goals and 31 points this season. “It was just an emotional moment. I can’t really describe it.”

Duchatellier reflected on an amazing year and postseason run. “The season was incredible,” he said. “I’m really glad we got this far. I’ve never gotten this far, and I never expected we’d get this far.”

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