JOHNSTOWN - After starting the season 2-2, the Johnstown girls soccer team had lost five straight games heading into Thursday's Foothills Council contest with Gloversville under the lights at Johnstown High School.
The Lady Bills put the brakes on their losing streak, scoring twice in the first half on their way to a 2-0 win over the Lady Dragons.
"The girls played great. They played the game I asked them to play," Johnstown coach Colleen Froschauer said. "They always get excited and pumped to play this game against Gloversville, so it was nice to get off to a good start."
Gloversville goalie Alexis Capasso makes a save during Thursday's Foothills Council game against Johnstown at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
Kaitlyn Pica and Kendra McCoy scored for Johnstown, with both goals coming within two minutes of one another midway through the opening half.
"[Johnstown] definitely had the better of the play in the first half," Gloversville coach Mike Hallenbeck said. "They controlled the ball for the majority of the half."
The Lady Bills controlled the action from the opening whistle, outshooting the Lady Dragons 9-1 in the opening half.
Pica opened the scoring for Johnstown, finding the net from a tough angle as she tucked the ball inside the right post on a shot from near the end line on the left side of the field with 23:29 remaining in the first half.
The Lady Bills quickly added to their lead as less than two minutes later, McCoy scored on an assist from Megan Anagnostopulos.
"The first goal was unlucky, but the second goal was a good goal," Hallenbeck said. "My hat's off to them, [Johnstown] played a good game."
The back-to-back goals put Johnstown in firm control.
The Lady Bills had two chances in the final 10 minutes of the half stopped by Gloversville keeper Alexis Capasso, who made saves on shots by Morganne Dick and Pica.
The stops kept the Gloversville deficit at two goals heading to the half.
After the break, the Lady Dragons played the Lady Bills more even than in the first half.
"We battled back in the second half," Hallenbeck said. "We played them a little more even."
Despite their improved play, the Lady Dragons were still outshot 10-2 for the rest of the game. Johnstown created several of those chances late in the game as Gloversville was feeling the effects of playing 80 minutes with just two available substitutes.
"We're playing with only two subs, so it's tough," Hallenbeck said. "We're struggling with the same things that we've been struggling with all season."
Capasso stopped two shots by McCoy in the second half as Johnstown looked to extend its advantage.
"We had chances in the second half, but we didn't finish," Froschauer said. "I'm glad to get the win, but we've got to put a couple more in the net when we have the opportunity."
Gloversville's best chance came with just more than three minutes remaining when Chanel Thomas headed toward the Lady Bills' goal on a breakaway only to have it cleared away by Johnstown defender Sara Kosowicz.
"Gloversville had some chances," Froschauer said. "We were able to hold them off."
The scoreless second half left the score at 2-0 in favor of Johnstown, the same margin that the Lady Bills defeated the Lady Dragons by in Gloversville on Sept. 10.
Capasso finished with 12 saves for Gloversville.
Ellen Praught made three saves to post the shutout win in goal for Johnstown. It was Praught's third shutout of the season.
"We've got to get back on track, we've been struggling a little bit lately," Froschauer said. "We've been playing some of the better teams in the Foothills and trying to be competitive. We're working to change our mentality when we play the better teams in the league. We just kind of accepted losing to them for too long and we're working to change that."
The Lady Bills and Lady Dragons will return to action with non-league games Monday. Johnstown (3-7 overall, 3-6 Foothills) will host St. Johnsville at 5 p.m., while Gloversville (1-9 overall, 1-8 Foothills) will host Amsterdam at 7 p.m.