Sabres coast into Class BB final
STILLWATER Add this to your list of scary things this Halloween season.
This edition of the Schalmont girls’ soccer team may be better than the past two, which won a state title and lost in the state semis, losing one game in six years.
The 18-0-0 Lady Sabres advanced to a fourth straight sectional title game — including a 2010 loss to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the Class A championship game — by breezing past Broadalbin-Perth,
6-0, in a Class BB semifinal Monday night at Stillwater High School.
Top-seeded Schalmont, which has not lost a game to a Section II opponent since that defeat in the 2010 title game, ended the Lady
Patriots’ season for the third straight year, and set up a match of unbeatens for Thursday night’s final at Lansingburgh. Catholic Central, the 18-0-0 second seed, also had an easy time Monday, using six second-half goals to beat Schuylerville, 7-2.
Broadalbin-Perth coach Rob Klug has gotten an up-close look at the last three Schalmont teams that have beaten his clubs in the finals the last two years, and now at the semifinal stage.
“This team is more of a team,” said Klug, whose team finished 14-4-0. “They’re well put together from back to front. They don’t have just one go-to player. They have a bunch of girls who can go. They move the ball around, they work hard, they’re very organized, well-coached and disciplined.”
“The best thing about our team this year is everyone is unselfish,” said Alaina Lange, who moved into the head coaching position when Angelo Caschera stepped down after the 2012 season. “They play as a true team. They have confidence in each other.”
Smalller and quicker than its predecessors, this Schalmont team uses speed and quick passing to break down opposing defenses.
“We’re a lot smaller, so we have to move and pass more quickly,” said midfielder Hailee Metzold.
Schalmont took control immediately, as sophomore Rachel Cardinal finished a play she started with the first of her many runs down the right flank, giving the Lady Sabres a lead 2:41 in. Ten minutes later, another cross from Cardinal was put away by eighth-grader Molly Older, who would finish with three goals.
Older and Julia Rossi added goals before the half.
“They were able to get in behind us pretty early on the first two goals. That created an uphill battle against a very good team,” said Klug.
Making things worse was the limited effectiveness of Katie Herba, Broadalbin-Perth’s top player.
“We wanted to play balls to our feet and see if we could get behind them,” said Klug. “I don’t think it helped with Katie being about 30 percent with her ankle being hurt. That slowed us down a little bit, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
Cardinal kept getting free down her wing, and, combined with the play of center midfielders Madeline Saccocio and Rossi, that allowed Schalmont to dominate possession.
“When she domninates, she’s dangerous,” said Lange, who has just two seniors on the roster. “We can open up the field with her out there, and get everybody else opportunities. We have the midfield that can get us those opportunities early. Our forwards go a great job of finding the back of the net.”
“Rachel played amazing,” said Metzold, noting that it’s hard for opponents to pick out one single player to concentrate on defensively. “We have a lot of players who can score goals, so it makes it hard to mark us.”
Center back Kennedy Cronk directed a defense that posted its 12th shutout. Schalmont has given up just six goals this year, and never more than one in any game.
“We have a great defense,” said Lange. “They’ve done a great job shutting down key players up to this point, so I had confidence in them that they could beat them to the ball own the backfield.”
Madison Purcell and Alexis Riffelbach both scored three goals in Catholic Central’s win.
“We know we’re going to put the ball in the net, as many times as we had it up there,” said Lady Crusaders coach Dan Carpenter. “We have confidence we can score any time.”