JOHNSTOWN Having claimed the Section II Class B title for the first time since 2003 last season, the Johnstown field hockey team began its title defense in impressive fashion Wednesday.
The top-seeded Lady Bills scored three times in the first half and four times in the second on their way to a 7-0 win over eighth-seeded Scotia-Glenville at Knox Field.
Emma Heroth scored three goals for Johnstown, while Ashley Dona scored twice. Alexis Swatt and Hope Cerasuolo also scored for the Lady Bills. Kelsi Barnholt finished with two assists for Johnstown, while Lindsay Brandt added one assist.
Johnstown’s Mikaela Etherton, front, dribbles past Scotia-Glenville’s Amanda Kot during Wednesday’s Section II Class B quarterfinal game at Knox Field in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
Dona's goal were her 37th and 38th of the season, pushing her career total to 67 and setting a new Johnstown school record. Kayla May, a 2006 graduate, held the old mark of 65.
The win was the 16th straight for the Lady Bills since a season-opening 1-0 loss to defending Class A champion Shenendehowa in overtime.
"When we opened with that loss, they got that taste in their mouth. They got to feel it and understand it," said Johnstown coach Tracy Ringer. "They never wanted that again."
SECTION II TOURNMENT
Class B Quarterfinals
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 3, Ichabod Crane 0
Queensbury 2, Emma Willard 0
Glens Falls 3, South Glens Falls 2
Johnstown 7, Scotia-Glenville 0
Since the loss, Johnstown has outscored the opposition 84-4 and piled up 12 shutouts.
Three of those shutouts have come against Scotia-Glenville as the Lady Bills posted 8-0, 2-0 and 7-0 wins over the Lady Tartans.
The 2-0 victory came last Friday at Knox Field, giving Johnstown some motivation heading into its postseason opener.
"We wanted to open sectionals by making a strong statement," Ringer said. "I think we did that by playing well today."
The win also earned the Lady Bills their nearly annual postseason meeting with perennial nemesis Glens Falls. The Indians posted wins over Johnstown in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Class B title games before losing to the Lady Bills last season in the championship game.
"Glens Falls is always a tough team. We need to be ready to play," Ringer said. "We need to come with our 'A' game. We're taking it one game at a time and that's the next game we're going to focus on."
After holding Johnstown without a goal until late in last Friday's game, Scotia-Glenville was hoping the third time would be the charm against the Lady Bills on Wednesday.
However, Dona scored 9:15 into the game, setting the tone for a long day for the Lady Tartans.
Heroth scored with 13:14 left to play in the first half, giving Johnstown a 2-0 advantage.
"Our focus was to shut down Dona and [Heroth]," Scotia-Glenville coach Lisa Snyder said. "Obviously, we didn't do that as well as we did Friday."
Cerasuolo closed out the first-half scoring for Johnstown on an assist from Barnholt with 5:55 to play, giving the Lady Bills a 3-0 lead at the break.
In the second half, Dona scored her second of the game just 1:54 into the half as Johnstown added four second-half goals to its total.
Swatt scored just 1:29 after Dona to make it 5-0 before Heroth scored the final two goals of the game to complete her hat trick.
"We are one team. We are one family," said Ringer. "When everyone is firing on all cylinders, that's when we win games."
Vanessa Walker finished with 11 saves for Scotia-Glenville, which was outshot 18-0. Johnstown also finished with a 13-2 advantage in penalty corners.
"They're a good team," Snyder said of Johnstown. "They definitely outplayed us today."
Scotia-Glenville finishes its season with a 4-14 overall record, while Johnstown moves on to face Glens Falls, another Foothills Council foe for the third time this season.
Fourth-seeded Glens Falls advanced to the semifinals with a 3-2 win over fifth-seeded South Glens Falls on Wednesday.
Second-seeded Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake will meet third-seeded Queensbury in the other semifinal contest. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake posted a 3-0 win over seventh-seeded Ichabod Crane, while Queensbury topped sixth-seeded Emma Willard 2-0.
Johnstown (16-1 overall) will host Glens Falls (9-8 overall) next Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Lady Bills have won three straight over the Indians, including a 2-0 win at home and a 3-0 win at Glens Falls this season.
"It's going to be a high-tempo game," Ringer said. "We're going to need to play a lot more aggressive."