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Friends Academy girls fall in Class C state soccer semifinals

Friends Academy's Kasey Katz runs towards the ball.

Friends Academy's Kasey Katz runs towards the ball. (Nov. 17, 2012) Credit: Gregg Ordon

DRYDEN, N.Y. -- The only thing left on the line may have been pride. But up until the very final second, an undermanned Friends Academy team played like a state title was still within reach.

Friends entered Saturday's game without its leading goal scorer, Krystina Iordanou, who was in Florida for an Olympic Development Program tryout for the national team. Its second- and third-leading scorers, Heather Maierle and Kasey Katz, each suffered first-half injuries and had to be taken to the hospital. Three players that accounted for 24 of the 27 goals scored this season by Friends Academy weren't on the field and yet there was no quit in the ones that were.

But a gutsy effort fell short as Friends Academy, the defending co-state champs, fell to Hoosick Falls, 3-0, in the Class C state semifinal yesterday at Tompkins Community College.

"I'm extremely proud of everything we did,'' senior defender Marissa Tidona said. "We kept our heads up until the last second of the game and you couldn't ask for anything more."

Friends struggled to generate offense but held Hoosick Falls scoreless in the first half thanks in part to keeper Claudia Ratner, who finished with 12 saves. Hoosick Falls finally got on the board with 20:06 left when Grace Delurey placed a hooking shot from the right wing inside the far post. Jordyn Haynes scored off a through ball with 11:54 left to seal the win.

But there was Ratner continuing to dive for saves. There was Alexis Toles, attempting to generate offense, and Marissa Tidona keeping the backline in order. And the five players left on the bench cheering them on until the very end.

"It took a lot of effort to get here so we wanted to take advantage of every moment we had," senior midfielder Jessica Babicz said.

Having never reached the state tournament before last year, Friends Academy has now done it for two straight seasons.

"They showed heart and determination and they never gave up," coach Gail Baker said. "It makes me so proud that we've come this far."

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