Road to FinalsHaldane boys’ soccer wins Class C title

On the final day of the high school soccer season, the Haldane High School boys brought home the big prize, scoring with 1:20 remaining to beat Maple Hill on Sunday (Nov. 13) to win the Class C state championship game at Middletown High School.

After 78 minutes of scoreless soccer, it looked like the teams were headed for overtime.

But in the final 90 seconds, the Blue Devils’ relentless pressure paid off when Clem Grossman chipped a pass over the defense from behind, and Ryan Eng-Wong — with his back to the goal — played it off his chest, then turned and shot it past a diving goalie.

It was the first state championship for any Haldane boys’ team, and the first for the school since the girls’ soccer team won the Class C title in 2014. (The girls also have won five in basketball and four in volleyball.)

Eng-Wong had found the back of the net on a header five minutes earlier, but the goal was negated on an offsides call.

“There’s no feeling like it,” Eng-Wong said after the win. “We put so much work into this. Everybody was backing us up. We played with so much heart today. That’s the way it’s been the whole season — one of our best players goes down [captain Will Sniffen, injured late in the game] and we kept playing through it, through all the adversity. That’s what champions are made of.”

Eng-Wong finished his high school career with a school record 69 career goals.

Coach Ahmed Dwidar has said all season that his squad is a “first-goal” team. Once the Blue Devils score first, they believe the game is theirs.

“It’s pretty amazing, that’s all I can tell you,” Dwidar said. “In the 78th minute of a scoreless game, all you can do is pray for a goal, and it came at the right time.”

Maple Hill, located in Castleton in Rensselaer County, finished its season at 20-2-1. It also lost in the finals last year, 1-0, to Hamilton, which had defeated Haldane for the Section I title.

Photos by Amy Kubik

Photos by Skip Pearlman

Haldane ended the regular season at 13-2, with losses at Hastings and Peekskill, before winning its first Section I, Class C title since 2013. It finished 18-2.

2022 Class C Soccer Champs
0 Scott Bailey, goal, junior
1 Ronan Kiter*, goal, junior
3 Trajan McCarthy, defender, junior
4 Jeremy Hall, defender, junior
5 William Sniffen*, defender, senior
6 Aidan Sullivan-Hoch, defender, senior
7 Clement Grossman, forward, junior
8 Brandt Robbins, mid, sophomore
9 Liam Gaugler, mid, junior
10 Matthew Silhavy, mid, sophomore
11 Luca van Dommele, mid, senior
12 Ryan Eng-Wong*, forward, senior
13 Frankie Digiglio, defender, junior
14 Rhys Robbins, mid, senior
15 Max Westphal, mid, junior
16 Marc Firpo, mid, sophomore
17 Matthew Nachamkin, defender, junior
18 Emilio Schweizer, mid, junior
19 Ty Villella, defender, freshman
20 Samuel Vargas, forward, freshman
21 Peter Ruggiero, defender, junior
Ahmed Dwidar, head coach
Ramsey Heitmann, assistant coach
Dan Rotando, assistant coach
John Rotando, assistant coach
Aldo Tropeano, assistant coach
Aidan Sabatini, manager
Meghan Crowe, athletic trainer


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Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Pearlman, a native of Carmel, was the sports editor of the Putnam County Courier in Carmel for 14 years and for the North County News in Yorktown Heights for 13 years. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Sports