JOHNSTOWN - After finally getting over the hump against Glens Falls in last year's Section II Class B championship game, the Johnstown field hockey team looked to make it two straight against the Indians on Thursday at Knox Field.
For the first time in some time, the Lady Bills did just that, posting a 2-0 win over the Lady Indians.
"I'm content with the win. It's still early in the season and we've got things to work on to get to where we want to be," Johnstown coach Tracy Ringer said. "I'm very proud of them. We were able to pull off back-to-back wins over Glens Falls, which is something we haven't done in a while."
Johnstown's Hope Cerasuolo (24) battles Glens Falls’ Shea Homer (8) for possession during Thursday’s Foothills Council field hockey game at Knox Field in Johnstown.
The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager
Senior Ashley Dona scored both goals to lead the Lady Bills to the win.
As it usually is when Johnstown and Glens Falls meet, the game was a battle.
Though the Lady Bills outshot the Indians by a 9-0 margin in the first half, Johnstown was unable to find the back of the cage in the first 30 minutes.
In addition to generating plenty of shots, Johnstown also earned 10 first-half penalty corners, only to come up empty on the scoreboard.
"Even though we dominated on the field, we didn't on the scoreboard," Ringer said. "When you have as many penalty corners as we did, we need to do a better job capitalizing on them."
Johnstown looked as though it had broken through with 15:55 remaining in the first half when Dona found the back of the cage. However, the goal was taken off the board, and the Lady Bills were awarded another penalty corner.
Being put on its heels for an entire half is a new experience for Glens Falls, which lost several key contributors to graduation.
"We had a complete turnover from last year's team," Glens Falls coach Michelle Venditto said. "We're still finding ourselves. We're learning and we'll keep moving forward."
Glens Falls got a solid effort from freshman goalie Haylee Mello, who finished with 15 saves.
"I thought she played a heck of a game defensively," Venditto said of Mello. "She's only a ninth-grader and she was on our modified team last season."
Johnstown continued to control the action in the second half, quickly breaking through for the first time when Dona scored just 31 seconds into the half.
The Lady Bills' defense kept Glens Falls in check most of the day, allowing just one shot and one penalty corner as seniors Jenna Hohenforst and Lindsay Brandt were key in warding off most offensive opportunities by the Indians.
"Jenna [Hohenforst] is very calm in how she plays. She a great job of controlling breakaways by the other team," Ringer said. "Lindsay [Brandt] did a great job of stopping [Glens Falls'] offensive momentum today."
Johnstown goalie Alyssa Pertell made just one save to post the shutout win.
Despite the Lady Bills' dominance on both ends of the field, Glens Falls stayed within striking distance the whole way.
"It was a one-goal game until the final few minutes," Venditto said. "It could have gone either way."
Johnstown finally got its much-needed insurance goal with 5:30 to play when Dona scored on an assist from Hope Cerasuolo.
The Lady Bills finished with a 15-3 edge in penalty corners and an 18-1 edge in shots.
Despite the lopsided numbers on the final stat sheet, Venditto said she hopes her team will close the gap by season's end.
"As long as we continue to improve as the year goes on, I'll be happy," she said. "It's a long season and it's still early."
Glens Falls (1-2 overall, 1-1 Foothills) will host South Glens Falls on Saturday at 11 a.m., while Johnstown (2-1 overall, 2-0 Foothills) will travel to Gloversville on Saturday for a 7 p.m. contest.
"We're taking it one game at a time and not underestimating anyone," Ringer said. "Gloversville has always been one of our rivals. It's going to be a transition for us to go from playing on turf to grass."