GLOVERSVILLE - Missed opportunities early in Wednesday's season-opening match came back to haunt the Gloversville boys soccer team.
The Dragons dominated the opening 15 minutes of play against Glens Falls, creating quality scoring chances but could not put a score on the board.
However, the Indians did capitalize on a pair of chances and held off a late surge by the Dragons to take home a 2-1 Foothills Council victory from Gloversville High School Wednesday.
Gloversville’s Alessandro Ciuci (21) shields off Glens Falls’ Luke Collins (9) during Foothills Council play Wednesday at Gloversville High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"The timing was off," Gloversville coach Paul Ligon said. "This was our first game and we had one preseason game. Right now, we are playing too vertical and missing opportunities for diagonal balls. It is just people learning how to play together."
Glens Falls coach Mike Shaver said the win was a much-needed boost in confidence his team needed.
"We played Albany Academy and LaSalle and lost by a combination of 10-1," Shaver said. "So we are not where we have been the past few years, but I have a great group that is willing to work hard and try to improve every day. That is pretty much all I can ask for right now."
Gloversville (0-1-0 overall, 0-1-1 Foothills) came out on the attack and kept Glens Falls (1-2-0 overall, 1-0-0 Foothills) pinned in its defensive third of the field for the majority of the first 20 minutes of play.
Dragons' captain Skyler Deming came close to netting the first goal of the season 10 minutes into the game when he received a through ball and fought off a defender before hitting a shot toward the lower corner that bounced off the post before being gathered in by Indians' goalkeeper Gabe Alagna.
Alagna made a pair of stops on close-range opportunities by Jonathan Himpsl and Alessandro Ciuci to keep the Dragons off the board and allow his teammates to organize their attack.
The Indians got a break with 17:31 left in the opening half.
Luke Collins put a corner kick in play for Glens Falls that Gloversville goalkeeper Nick Cirillo got his hands on but could not control. The ball fell at the feet of Nate Didio, who finished the play for a 1-0 lead.
The Gloversville defense stepped up, limiting the Indians' opportunities and allowing their midfielders to regain control of the flow of the game.
Brandon Jablonski and Juan Dador both struck strong attempts on goal in the final 10 minutes of the half, but could not find the equalizer, giving Glens Falls a 1-0 halftime edge.
"I think the pace of the game started to get too fast for us and we started to get disconnected out of the back," Ligon said. "We tried to play a little more possession out of the back but we got disjointed and they started to figure out how to get a through ball so we came apart a little bit. I don't think our fitness is as good as I thought it was and we started to get a little bit tired, which led to a couple of mistakes and they capitalized on them."
Glens Falls picked up what proved to be the game-winning goal less than five minutes into the second half.
Francis Dougherty put a long throw in play that Clark Wooley flicked on with his head to Heath Armstrong. Armstrong collected the ball and pushed it into the lower right corner for a 2-0 Glens Falls advantage.
Just over a minute later, the Dragons rallied back, cutting the Indians' lead in half.
Deming put a direct kick in play from 20 yards out and to the right of the goal that defenseman Adam Sleezer one-touched into the upper corner of the net to cut the score to 2-1 with 33:54 left to play.
The rejuvenated Dragons went to work to tie the score and came inches shy of getting it with 29 minutes left in regulation.
Thomas Kirk put a corner kick in play that C.J. Devito headed on goal only to have his shot rejected by Glens Falls defenseman Jack Girard who held his position on the left post. The rebound was headed out of a crowd and back on goal but sailed over the crossbar and out of play.
Gloversville kept the pressure on but could not break through a smothering Glens Falls defense before the final whistle.
"We had two chances to capitalize on in the first half and didn't put them in then they came back and put their two in," Ligon said. "In the last 20 minutes we played well . . . the goal sparked them. They kind of got back up on their toes and seemed alive again. I was happy for the most part."
For the match, the Indians out shot Gloversville 14-9. Cirillo made 12 saves in goal for the Dragons, while Alagna stopped eight attempts.
"This is a good win for us right now," Shaver said. "We needed it as much for morale as we did for the standings."
Gloversville will host Scotia-Glenville in a Foothills Council match Friday afternoon, while Glens Falls will host South Glens Falls on Tuesday.