Lady Bills capture Class D title
Johnstown defeats Holy Names 16-10 for first sectional title since 2006
ROTTERDAM — A game that started out in pouring rain, ended in big smiles and overflowing emotions for the Johnstown Lady Bills.
After falling behind 2-0 early, the top-seeded Lady Bills battled back to defeat second-seeded Academy of the Holy Names 16-10 to win the Section II Class D girls lacrosse championship Thursday at Mohonasen High School.
“It is the greatest feeling ever,” Lady Bills’ captain Madison Etherton said. “We knew we had a lot of talent this year and we couldn’t give up on our community right now. This is where we needed to be.”
Johnstown (16-1) advances to regional play and will take on the winner of Tuesday’s game between Section 1 champion Bronxville and Section 9 champ Millbrook at 5:30 p.m. May 31 at Mohonasen High School. The winner advances to the state final four scheduled for June 7 and 8 at SUNY Cortland.
A downpour passed over the field as the teams faced off . The storm did little to slow down Holy Names as Suzie Smith finished a pass from Grace Field for a score less than 90 seconds into the match. five minutes later Lauren Mesick scored an unassisted goal to put Johnstown in an early 2-0 hole.
The Lady Bills began working the ball around the perimeter of the Holy Names defense and got on the board when Abbey Hollister moved from in back of the goal to put the ball between the pipes with 13:04 left in the opening half.
Two minutes later Hollister knocked the ball away from a Holy Names defender and Etherton scooped up the loose ball and deposited it in the back of the net, tying the match at two.
Amber Tesi gave the Lady Bills their first lead of the match with her unassisted goal with 9:14 remaining. However, Holy Names got the equalizer on an unassisted goal from Bella Tronco.
Taryn Ringer picked up her first goal of the match 12-seconds later after winning the face off and racing deep into the Holy Names defense and finishing the play for a 4-3 advantage.
Again, Holy Names tied the game when Tronco connected for an unassisted goal to put the score at 4-4.
Mesick put Holy Names back in front with her score off an assist from Tronco but the final minutes of the opening half belonged to Johnstown.
Emily Fleming earned a penalty and passed the ball to Roslyn Chapin who found Ringer cutting toward goal and the sophomore attacker finished the play to tie the game at five apiece.
Etherton put the Lady Bills up 6-5 with 18.2 second left in the half with her goal off a restart and Ringer gave the Lady Bills a two-goal halftime advantage with one second left on the clock.
“We didn’t play well in the first half but when Taryn put that goal in to make it 7-5, that was the moment they picked it up and went on from there.” Johnstown coach Denise Benton said.
After a yellow card on the final play of the first half put Holy Names down a man for the first two minutes of the second half, the Lady Bills immediately put pressure on the Holy Names defense only to have goalkeeper Kathleen Harris come up with a pair of big saves.
The Lady Bills finally broke through with Madison Delgado finishing off a long run out of the midfield to put Johnstown up 8-5.
After a yellow card put the Johnstown down a man for two minutes, it did little to stop the offense from putting another score on the board as Molly Memrick picked up an unassisted goal for a 9-5 advantage.
Holy Names battled back with a pair of unanswered goals from Mesick and Smith to cut the lead to 9-7 with 17:45 left to play.
The Holy Names offense continued to put pressure on the Johnstown defense before goalkeeper Mari-Ahna Manchester came up with a stop that quickly put momentum back on the side of the Lady Bills.
Delgado finished a pass from Etherton before Hollister finished a play that started with Ringer moving the ball around the top of the key before passing to Etherton for her second assist in a span of 26 seconds for an 11-7 advantage.
Alex Queeney up the score to 12-7 with her unassisted goal before Smith finished off a pass from Field to put the score at 12-8.
The Lady Bills answered the goal with three more goals from Hollister, Ringer and Tesi to build a 15-8 lead with 7:12 left to play.
Holy Names got a goal back when Field scored with 6:23 remaining, however just over a minute later Tesi delivered her third goal of the match to put Johnstown in front 16-9 with just over five minutes left to play.
Holy Names kept battling only to have the Lady Bills defense come up with big stops and fed the ball upfield out of danger.
Nikita Granich put the final score of the match on the board for Holy Names with 48.5 seconds left.
The Lady Bills gained control of the ball and used their passing game to run out the clock, sparking a celebration as the players rushed the field in celebration of their first sectional title since 2006.
“12 years ago we won a class C title against Emma Willard,” Benton said. “It has just been such a long time. We had to rebuild ourselves and work from the youth level up. You are seeing all the kids who have been working since the third and fourth grades. It is amazing. We have a lot of field hockey players on the team. They were 18-0 going into the final and they lost by one and they didn’t want to feel that way again. We don’t have all field hockey players but these kids are all dedicated and motivated.”
Ringer finished the match with four goals for Johnstown, while Tesi and Hollister had three goals apiece. Etherton and Delgado finished with two goals, while Memrick and Queeney added a goal apiece.
“This is the best feeling in the world,” Ringer said. “We wanted it and we got it. Everybody did their job and it all came together. In both my sports I play in the winter and fall I got a maroon patch it feels so good to finally get a white one.”
With the uncertain future of athletics in the Greater Johnstown School District, Ringer expressed the feelings of herself and her teammates.
“Next year we may not get the opportunity to play these sports anymore with the budget not passing,” she said. “I didn’t want this to be my last game as a Lady Bill. None of us did. We are going to keep going as far as we can. We don’t want the season to end.”
Class B game postponed
The Class B championship match between Queensbury and Niskayuna was postponed after a thunderstorm rolled into the area.
The game will resume play at 4 p.m. today at Mohonasen High School with 14:24 left to play and Queensbury leading 13-9.