The Lansing boys soccer team is back to its championship-winning ways.
On October 14, the Bobcats took home the IAC Large School Championship for the first time since 2021, defeating Trumansburg 1-0 in overtime at Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3). The victory served as redemption after falling in last year’s title game to Spencer-Van Etten/Candor 2-1.
In order to get to the championship itself, the Bobcats had to top the IAC North Large Division, and they did so in dramatic fashion. Lansing welcomed Dryden to Sobus Field on October 6, where anything but a win would hand the divisional crown to the Lions. A hard-fought but scoreless battle would carry over into overtime, where Yarden Eynav netted the golden goal to send the Bobcats to TC3.
“It just was a very gritty performance from us,” said second-year head coach Jake Fusilli. “When we talked after last season, making it back to the IAC Championship was probably the biggest goal of theirs and to hopefully win it this year. Last year we lost and the boys just were very hungry, and they knew that we had to come out with a win. It wasn’t the prettiest game of soccer that we’ve played, but they fought very hard for 80 minutes plus overtime. We ended up sneaking one in and got the job done.”
The championship against Trumansburg played out almost identically to their duel with Dryden. The match was also goalless after regulation, which meant another extra period was on the cards. This time around, it was Rowan Fox who provided the heroics, scoring his team-best 13th goal of the season. Fox has impressed Fusilli in his first year at the varsity level.
“He’s a dangerous target up top for us,” Fusilli said. “He comes off the bench and he just brings this electricity when it comes down to the field and some energy that we need. He’s been playing very well up top and he’s learning the style of play I want up top. He’s performing up there, so it’s going very well for him.”
The other big performance came from goalkeeper Bode Petrich. The senior made multiple key saves to keep the Bobcats in the game and ultimately force overtime. His most impressive save came early, as he pushed a deflected free kick from Trumansburg’s Jackson Mulford onto the post. It was a stunning save that will surely go straight onto his highlight reel.
“It all starts from our goalie with Bode,” Fusilli said. “He’s one of our captains, and he’s a very vocal player and goalie, which is what I want from my goalkeeper. It just builds up from him with that communication through our defense and our defense communicating that up through our midfield and then to our strikers, so it really starts with the goalie.”
Fusilli also praised the defense for their outstanding work this season, recording eight shutouts.
“They’re just a very gritty group back there,” Fusilli said. “If a team’s going to score on us, it’s going to be really off our mistake, us not clearing the ball correctly or anything of those sorts. Their line is very good this year. They work very well together chemistry-wise. And they just really give it their all for all 80 minutes, and that’s all I can ask for.”
Some might not have expected Lansing to even top their division after losing eight starters from last season’s team. With a combination of newcomers to the varsity level (like Fox) and returners stepping into bigger roles (like midfielder William Stallone), the Bobcats are still a force to be reckoned with in the area.
“It definitely was a whole new team, but that group has been playing together for most of their lives since they were little,” Fusilli said. “Adding in the few odds and ends in who haven’t been a part of that just took a little bit, but the overall chemistry and technical ability from them has been there. I think they knew losing eight starters from last year, a lot of people were gonna look down on us more this year saying we’re pretty young and not expecting us to be back in the championship game, so I think it says a lot about them to really fight and work hard this season to push themselves to be back in the spot.”
With an IAC championship back in their grasp, Lansing’s focus quickly shifts to the Section IV Class B tournament, where they will hope to make a deeper run than last season’s quarterfinal exit. The fifth-seed Bobcats begin sectional play at fourth-seeded Oneonta on October 20.
One other team from Tompkins County won an IAC title at TC3. Right after the Lansing-Trumansburg boys soccer match, both schools’ girls soccer teams squared off for the Large School championship. The Blue Raiders prevailed 2-0 thanks to goals from Allison Denmark and Amara Landon. Both strikes came from second-half corner kicks, with Denmark scoring directly from one to break the deadlock, while Landon headed in Denmark’s delivery three minutes later.