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Northville to play for Class D title

MECHANICVILLE — One season removed from its Section II Class D championship; the Northville girls’ soccer team is heading back to the championship match.

The Lady Falcons will travel to Mechanicville High School today to take on top-seeded New Lebanon for the 2019 title in a 4:30 p.m. match.

“New Lebanon were sectional finalists last year,” Northville coach Doug Hammons said. “They are the top seed and have two forwards who scored a lot of goals this season. They finished first in the Central Hudson Valley League. Bottom line . . . you have the number one seed playing the number two seed. It does not get better.”

The Lady Falcons (15-3-0) advanced to the title match with a 3-0 victory over Fort Ann Saturday, avenging last year’s loss to the Cardinals on penalty kicks after playing to a 4-4 draw.

“This team has used last year’s heartbreaking loss as a motivator to be better,” Coach Hammons said. “I myself vowed to work harder in the off season to keep players playing that loss was hard to forget. The win against Fort Ann validated all the hard work and dedication these players put in.”

New Lebanon (14-2-2) advanced to the title match defeating Germantown on penalty kicks after playing Germantown to a 1-1 draw last Saturday at Gloversville High School. It was the third time this season they two teams had met, splitting the regular season series.

The Tigers success has been keyed by an offense sparked by Emily Schafer and Sydney Smith. Schafer has knocked 34 goals into the back of the net and has picked up 14 assists, while Smith has 22 goals and 15 assists. They are joined by Madison Soldato with seven goals and three assists.

Northville has three players with double-digit scoring this season.

Brytney Moore, who reached the 100-goal milestone earlier this season, has connected for 36 goals and 16 assists, while Grace Forsey has 19 goals and nine assists and Kaytelenn Van Heusen has 10 goals and 11 assists. Clara Thompson has added seven goals and six assists for the Lady Falcons and Madison Whittaker has five goals and nine assists.

Northville goalkeeper Emily Shepard has recorded eight shut outs this season, with 76 saves and has allowed 16 goals, while her counterpart, Briana Shuhart has allowed 21 goals and has made 157 stops.

Although Northville was denied the chance to defend its title last season, coach Hammons has players on the squad that have big-game experience.

“Experience does help and is often a big component in success,” he said. “All of my captains this year were on that 2017 sectional team and will be leading this team on [tonight]. That is an advantage. I am a humbled coach to have such amazing group of girls. These girls are a team and earn everything they get. I know these players will put in their best and leave nothing unfinished.”

With a forecast of cold, wet weather for the championship match, one thing the Lady Falcons can predict for tonight’s match is the support of their loyal fans.

“I can’t say enough about the community in which I grew up in and was the 1995 state soccer champion,” Hammons said. “This win means everything to us and them. We can’t wait to play this game for them and to hear the cow bells ringing.”

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