BROADALBIN -The St. Johnsville girls soccer team played through the latter half of October missing three starting players, mostly on the offensive end of the field, who were out with concussions.
Being shorthanded finally caught up with the Lady Saints on Thursday, as they were shutout 2-0 by the Loudonville Christian in the Section II Class D semifinals at Patriot Field.
"We had a lot of things fall apart at the end of the season and we were just starting to play really well," St. Johnsville coach Zale Benton said. "I brought a bunch of little kids up."
Loudonville Christian’s Jaela Milford takes the ball from St. Johnsville’s Rylie Smith as Loudonville Christian’s Elena Meyer looks on during Friday’s Section II Class D semifinal game at Patriot Field in Broadalbin. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
The Lady Saints had one starting senior - MacKenzie Ferguson - and one starting junior - Skyler Viveros; the rest of the starting lineup was made of freshmen and sophomores.
"These kids picked it up," Benton said. "They beat a very good team in Mekeel [Christian], so I was really proud of them. This group of kids is very hungry."
Loudonville Christian (13-3-1) jumped on the board quickly, scoring a goal in the seventh minute. Anna Arcodia gathered up a loose ball in front of the left post and tucked her shot inside the far post, giving the Lady Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Class C Semifinals
Hoosick Falls 6, Albany Academy 0
Mechanicville 1, Hoosic Valley 0
Class D Semifinals
Loudonville Christian 2, St. Johnsville 0
Fort Ann 2, Northville 0
"We made a couple of mistakes early in the game and that cost us the difference," Benton said. "Not having our normal strikers that we've had all season did not help."
Just a minute before that, St. Johnsville's Rylie Smith had a shot on an open net, but missed wide. She, took, was playing out of position due to the various injuries the Saints suffered up front.
"Smith has been putting the ball in the net in the last few games for us, but she's not a striker," Benton said. "She's a center midfielder. I had to move her up."
St. Johnsville (6-12) gave up a deflating goal with 48 seconds to go in the first half when Knapp bobbled a shot off the foot of Loudonville Christian's Julie Fijal and the ball squirted behind her, giving the Lady Eagles a 2-0 lead at the break.
"At half I told them we could play with this team and we could," Benton said. "We were in front of the net and we didn't finish. We had the first run on goal and we missed. It was an open net and we missed. We haven't been able to execute the little things because the younger kids haven't been at this level before."
The Lady Saints also were unable to execute on two chances in the second half. In the 58th minute, LaCoppola got behind the Loudonville Christian defense on a breakaway, but her touch was too hard and the ball rolled to goalkeeper Cassidy Allen, who scooped it up.
Then about three minutes later, Hannah Taylor set up a direct kick from 20 yards out too quickly and her shot sailed over the goal.
The Lady Eagles will move on to Wednesday's Section II Class D championship game, where they will face top-seeded Fort Ann, which defeated No. 4 Northville, 2-0, in the other semifinal.
"The nice part of it is seeing this now and they know what they have to do to get ready," Benton said. "They stepped up big and made it to the semifinals. They did just about everything we worked on. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't."