GLOVERSVILLE - The Gloversville Lady Dragons finished the first half of their season on a positive note.
Powered by a pair of Chanel Thomas goals, Gloversville picked up its first victory of the season, a 2-1 win over Hudson Falls on Thursday at Gloversville High School.
"I am happy for the girls. They played hard," Gloversville coach Mike Hallenbeck said. "It has been a long road but they have kept a positive attitude and kept working hard in practice. I am glad to see it finally pay off."
Gloversville’s Chanel Thomas (7) creates space while under pressure from Hudson Falls’ Ruthie Rainbow (11) and Emilee Gallager (3) during second half Foothills Council action Thursday at Gloversville High School.
The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis
Gloversville opened the game strong, immediately putting pressure on the Hudson Falls defense. The pressure paid off with 29:31 remaining in the opening half. Thomas received a cross near the top of the box from Carolyn Bakyta, and beat her defender before firing a low shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage.
The Lady Tigers went to work to get the goal back. Just less than 10 minutes after Thomas' goal, Kylie Goodbred fired a shot just out of the reach of a leaping attempt by Gloversville goalkeeper Alexis Capasso. Goodbred's shot hit solid off the crossbar and bounced back in play. Capasso scrambled to clear the ball and was helped by defender Dominique Capano, who cleared the ball as Casey Bills closed in.
The Lady Dragons regrouped and again pressured the Hudson Falls defense and it appeared Thomas had her second goal of the match with 7:44 remaining. The goal was called off and Thomas was carded for interfering with the goalkeeper.
"I know we dominated the first 15 minutes of the game and once we scored we relaxed a little bit and they put us back on our heels," Hallenbeck said. "They had some good chances for the next 10 minutes before we regained composure and controlled the last 10 minutes of the half to send us into halftime feeling pretty good."
Gloversville came out strong after the break, putting shots on goal, but came away with three corner kicks due to the efforts of Lady Tigers' goalkeeper Nicole Sheloski.
With 27:56 remaining in the game, Goodbred again hit a hard shot off the crossbar, only this time Emilee Gallagher was in position on the far post to collect the equalizer.
The teams matched intensity over the next few minutes with neither able to build a rhythm in their attack.
When play was halted briefly for an injury on the field, the Gloversville players took the opportunity to collect their thoughts.
"When Natasha Simon got hurt, they got together, talked and got settled down," Hallenbeck said. "They seemed relaxed and finished the game well. I thought Katie LeFever had a great game for us. She was composed on the ball and distributed it well at center-mid."
When play resumed, the Lady Dragons opened up the field, allowing LeFever to push a pass through to Thomas, who finished the play for her second goal of the match and a 2-1 Gloversville advantage with 17:34 remaining.
The Lady Dragons showed no signs of relaxing this time after Thomas' goal as they stayed on the attack and locked up their first victory of the season.
For the match, Gloversville out shot Hudson Falls 16-10, while the Lady Tigers held a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Gloversville opens the second half of its Foothills Council campaign Monday on the road against South Glens Falls, who is tied for first place in the league with Scotia-Glenville. The Lady Bulldogs beat the Lady Tartans, 3-1, on Thursday.
"I think we can play with them," Hallenbeck said. "I don't think there is a team in the league we can't play with but right now it is just a mental thing. We have to get over thinking they are the top team in the league and we can't play with them. We need to play 80 minutes of soccer, not 40."