JOHNSTOWN - Coach Tracy Ringer knew her team would have a big challenge ahead of them when she scheduled Class A powerhouse Shenendehowa for a non-league field hockey match.
Although the Lady Bills fell to Shenendehowa 5-1, Ringer was not disappointed in her team's overall performance.
"Coming into the game today I knew it was going to be a learning experience," Ringer said. "We are a very inexperienced team after losing eight starters from last year. It definitely is a challenge we are facing this year. However, we packed our schedule with a bunch of Class A teams because that is the only way we are going to learn. If we play the best, we will become the best. That has always been the foundation of Johnstown field hockey. We took our lumps todays but hopefully it will make us stronger."
Johnstown’s Christina Bridge (3) and Shenendehowa’s Anna Branch (5) battle for control of the ball during non-league action Saturday at Knox Field in?Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Katie Kerner put the Lady Plainsmen on the board early with her goal off an assist from Anna Branch in the sixth minute of play.
Casey Stata added a second goal off an assist from Anna Bottino before Bottino made it 3-0 at the half with her goal off an assist from Emily Foster.
Nicole DaCunha connected off an assist from Bottino early in the second half to extend the lead to 4-0 before Erin Buckley delivered the fifth goal with 23:11 left in the game.
Johnstown stayed competitive and picked up a goal with 14:07 remaining when Christina Bridge finished off a pass from, Hope Cerasuolo off a penalty corner to put the final score at 5-1.
"Our girls did dig hard and come back and score one," Ringer said. "However, we made a lot of crucial errors and scored two of their goals for them. Which, for me, is inexcusable. But like I said it is a learning experience."
The Lady Plainsmen out shot Johnstown 15-2 for the match and held a 10-2 edge in penalty corners.
Johnstown goalkeeper Kristin Wright recorded 10 saves, while Melissa Nealon had one stop for Shenendehowa.
"Alexis Livingstone had a phenomenal defensive game as well as our goalie Kristen Wright who had multiple saves against a team who has several girls who play on the ADK traveling team," Ringer said. "Kudos to Shen. They have a phenomenal team the play hard. Hopefully our girls will look like that at the end of the season. We have a long road ahead of us, but I believe this team is a championship team. Sometimes you have to lose to become better."