Dona sets record as Lady Bills advance (photo gallery)
JOHNSTOWN With a backhand flip less than 10 minutes into the game, Ashley Dona became the most prolific goal scorer in the history of Johnstown field hockey.
The senior forward was just getting started, and her talented cast of teammates hadn’t even begun.
Emma Heroth knocked in three goals, Dona added another to boost her Johnstown total to 67 and Hope Cerasuolo and Alexis Swatt also scored Wednesday as the Lady Bills began defense of their Section II Class B championship with a 7-0 win over Scotia-Glenville at Knox Field.
The quarterfinal victory was Johnstown’s second in six days against the Tartans, but was nothing like its 2-0 triumph that clinched a perfect Foothills Council season. Dona scored both of those goals late in the second half, but connected 9:20 into Wednesday’s rematch to kick-start a three-goal spurt. She also delivered 1:54 into the second half to spark a four-goal surge.
With her first tally, Dona broke a tie with 2006 graduate Kayla May, who amassed 65 goals in her Johnstown career.
“It means a lot to break her record,” Dona said as she began to tear up. “I looked up to her. I’m really honored.”
Dona’s goals — her 37th and 38th this season — were part of another potent show by the Lady Bills (No. 1 seed, 16-1). Since a season-opening 1-0 overtime loss to defending Class A champ Shenendehowa, Johnstown has outscored its opponents, 84-4.
“When we opened with that loss, they got that taste in their mouth. They got to feel it and understand it,” said Johnstown coach Tracy Ringer. “They never wanted that again.”
Wednesday’s game was never in doubt after Heroth’s close-range goal with 13:08 left in the first half and Cerasuolo’s long blast past Scotia-Glenville netminder Vanessa Walker (11 saves) with 5:55 to go.
“We worked well together on our passes, and we were talking,” said Heroth, a senior. “In our last game with them, we were pretty quiet.”
Johnstown often moved swiftly from the midfield to the offensive zone via the pass and dribble, and created numerous quality scoring opportunities with its feeds inside the circle. Johnstown outshot (18-0) and outcornered (13-3) Scotia-Glenville, Kelsi Barnholt finished with a pair of assists, and Lindsay Brandt set up another goal.
“We are one team. We are one family,” said Ringer. “When everyone is firing on all cylinders, that’s when we win games.”
Swatt scored four minutes after Dona’s second-half goal, and Heroth completed her hat trick with back-to-back goals six minutes apart later in the period.
“We try to play hard and aggressive,” said Dona.
The Lady Bills also play smart, giving each other proper room to operate while spreading defending players.
“What we tell the girls is, ‘If you don’t have the ball, think about where on the field is the best spot to be to help my team,’ ” said Johnstown assistant coach Christine Krempa. “Our girls are pretty good about spacing. It opens things up.”
Dona has been accurate when open in games with Scotia-Glenville (No. 8, 4-14) this fall, notching seven goals, including three in an 8-0 win.
“I feel it’s my job to finish,” said Dona, who is flanked by Heroth and Cerasuolo on Johnstown’s front line. “The other girls have been doing a great job of getting me the ball in the circle all year long.”
Johnstown will host Glens Falls (No. 4, 9-8) next Wednesday in a 3 p.m. semifinal game. The Lady Bills wrestled the Class B championship away from the Indians last year to go with two wins this year.