JOHNSTOWN After finally solving Glens Falls in last year's Class B championship game, the Johnstown field hockey team has rattled off four straight wins over the Indians.
The most recent victory came Wednesday in the Class B semifinals at Knox Field as the top-seeded Lady Bills cruised to a 3-0 win over the fourth-seeded Indians to advance to the Class B title game for the fifth straight year.
"It's a great accomplishment to reach the championship game," Johnstown coach Tracy Ringer said. "This was the last home game for our seniors and it was great to have them go out with a win."
Johnstown’s Hope Cerasuolo (24) pushes the ball past Glens Falls’ Adair Turner during Wednesday’s Section II Class B semifinal game at Knox Field in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
The win was the third for Johnstown over Glens Falls this season by a combined score of 8-0.
"I'm very proud of my team," Ringer said. "It's been a very long time since we've beaten Glens Falls three times in a season."
Since a season-opening loss to defending Class A champion Shenendehowa, the Lady Bills have ripped off 17 straight wins, outscoring their foes 87-4 in the process.
Class B Semifinals
Johnstown 3, Glens Falls 0
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 5, Queensbury 1
Johnstown got out of the gates quickly against Glens Falls on Wednesday, scoring twice in the first half and outshooting Glens Falls 10-0. The Lady Bills also finished the opening half with a 9-2 edge in penalty corners.
"We capitalized on corners early," Ringer said.
Emma Heroth scored both of first-half goals for the Lady Bills.
The first came with 8:09 left in the first half, while the second came with 3:07 remaining on an assist from Kelsi Barnholt.
In the second half, Alexis Swatt scored the lone goal for Johnstown with 22:23 to play, giving the Lady Bills a 3-0 advantage.
"Alexis Swatt played well today. Her positioning was spot on," Ringer said.
Johnstown finished the game with a 16-3 edge in shots and a 14-6 advantage in penalty corners.
"This was a good experience for us," Glens Falls coach Michele Venditto said. "Most of them haven't been in the kind of high-pressure situation before."
The Indians were able to do something most teams haven't been able to do this season, keep Johnstown's leading scorer, senior Ashley Dona, off the board.
Dona, who has 38 goals this season, was held scoreless for the just the third time this season by the Glens Falls' defense.
"Glens Falls did a great job of marking Ashley [Dona] today," Ringer said. "However, our team is more than one person and Ashley did a great job of creating chances for other people today. She could have gotten frustrated, but she did what she could to help us to the win."
For Johnstown, the win was the fourth straight over the Indians, who had won 17 of 19 meetings with the Lady Bills heading into last year's Class B title game.
"It's always nice to get a win over Glens Falls," Ringer said. "It's never easy to do."
Alyssa Pertell made three saves to earn the shutout win in goal for Johnstown. It was the 13th shutout of the season for the Lady Bills.
Haylee Mello made 10 saves for Glens Falls.
Johnstown (17-1 overall) will face second-seeded Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (11-7 overall) in the championship game Sunday at Shenendehowa High School at 2:30 p.m. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake posted a 5-1 win over third-seeded Queensbury in its semifinal contest Wednesday. With the win, Burnt Hills reached the title game for the first time since 2007.
Johnstown topped Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 1-0. in the semifinals last season.
"We're looking forward to Sunday," Ringer said. "We're going to take it day by day and keep on working."
Glens Falls finishes it season with a 9-9 overall record.
"We graduated 13 kids from last year's team, so it took us a while to find our way this season," Venditto said. "I think we've turned the page and we're getting there."