JOHNSTOWN - After a rough start, the Johnstown girls lacrosse team finally got rolling on its way to an 11-3 win over Greenwich in its season opener Monday at Knox Field.
The Lady Bills controlled the action early, but were unable to find the net on any of their initial opportunities.
"We have to capitalize on our shots," Johnstown coach Denise Benton said. "Early in the game, we just weren't connecting. Our total percentage has to be better. We just need to teach ourselves to settle down and finish."
Johnstown’s Mikaela Etherton, left, pressures Greenwich goalie Sam Perry during Monday’s game at Knox Field in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
Compounding the problem was the loss of senior Emma Heroth to a knee injury just 2:50 into the opening half. Heroth's injury was the first of two for the Lady Bills, who also lost Kendra McCoy to an injury late in the game.
"Those were key injuries for us," Benton said.
Despite their early struggles, the Lady Bills kept their composure and began to find the net.
Sara Kosowicz scored the game's first goal with 21:35 left in the first half before assisting on a goal by McCoy with 16:55 left in the opening half to make it 2-0.
Kosowicz finished with two goals and two assists for the Lady Bills, while McCoy added two goals. Mikaela Etherton led Johnstown with three goals, while Bridgia Valk and Skylar Swatt each had a goal and an assist. Megan Anagnostopulos and Emily Smrtic also scored for Johnstown.
"We have a really deep, experienced team," Benton said.
Maria Patane scored all three goals for the Witches.
McCoy scored her second of the first half with 13:43 remaining to make it 3-0, while Etherton scored on an assist from Valk to make it 4-0 with 9:28 left in the first half.
Swatt pushed the Lady Bills' advantage to 5-0 with an unassisted goal with 8:40 left in the opening half.
Greenwich finally got on the board with 2:25 to play in the first half when Patane scored an unassisted goal.
Johnstown quickly answered with a goal by Valk, which came on an assist from Swatt. Patane closed out the first-half scoring with 22 seconds left to make it 6-2 at the break.
In the second half, Johnstown goalie Alexis Livingstone stole the show, making nine of her 14 saves and allowing just one goal.
"Johnstown's goalie [Livingstone] did a phenomenal job today," Greenwich coach Nicole Dixson said. "She really played well for them."
Greenwich outshot the Lady Bills 13-7 in the second half, but the Witches were outscored 5-1.
Livingstone was assisted in her efforts by defender Nakia Sweetman.
"Alexis [Livingstone] did an amazing job today. She made a ton of saves for us. She really did a great job," Benton said. "Nakia [Sweetman] had an amazing game on defense for us. She was all over the place."
Etherton scored twice in the second half for Johnstown, while Anagnostopulos Smrtic and Kosowicz also scored for the Lady Bills.
"We really wanted to come out of the first game with a win," Benton said.
Johnstown was able to accomplish that goal by an 11-3 margin. Greenwich goalie Sam Perry made eight saves.
"Overall, I'm really happy with our effort today," Benton said. "We've been working hard and I really see us moving up in the league. There's no easy games, but we're working at it."
Johnstown (1-0 overall) will travel to South Glens Falls on Wednesday, while Greenwich (0-1 overall) will host Scotia-Glenville on Wednesday.