Wolf’s penalty kick keeps BH-BL girls alive (with photo gallery)

On frame and hard. That was the key for Monica Wolf on her penalty kick, which found the net, despit

On frame and hard.

That was the key for Monica Wolf on her penalty kick, which found the net, despite Jamesville-DeWitt goalkeeper Sarah Gianni getting a glove on it.

After a Rams miss on the final PK, Wolf’s was the eventual winner for the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls, who won, 4-3, on penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 draw in the Class A regional semifinal Tuesday at Stillwater High School.

“If you put it in the right spot and you hit it hard enough, it’s going to be hard for a keeper to get that ball,” Wolf said. “That’s pretty much what’s in my mind when I go up there.”

Since Oct. 20, the Spartans have worked on PKs in each practice. It paid off, with Nicole Collins, Emily Pearce, Skye Kaler and Wolf connecting on the first four.

J-D got good PKs from Victoria Nies and Tessa Devereaux to start, but Jessica Holmes sent her shot over the bar. Emily Nuss drove hers into the net to keep the Rams alive, but Renee Keller’s attempt sailed high and wide right to end the game.

The Spartans got on the board first, with 32:24 left in the first half, when Jessica Lyden sent a low centering pass from the right side to freshman Jillian Beatty, who finished hard and low to the near side.

The Spartans had several good looks in the first half with Lyden in the middle of it all. Three minutes after the Burnt Hills goal, she sent another pass through from the right side for Elise McAllister, but she couldn’t get a good foot on it.

Another three minutes into the game, Lyden sent a back-heel touch to the six-yard box for Emily Nikolski, whose point-blank shot was saved by Gianni.

Lyden is just a few games removed from a three-week stint on the bench, recovering from a high-ankle sprain.

“I was so excited, I couldn’t wait,” she said. “Sitting on the bench for a couple of games got me pumped up to come back and try to make a big impact on the team.”

Burnt Hills controlled much of the possession in the first half, but J-D got on the board with 4:19 left before the break.

Tara Prosak collected the ball above the 18-yard box on the left side and sent a floater toward the goal, over the reach of keeper Emily McNutt and scraping the bottom of the crossbar before flying into the net for the equalizer.

The goal gave the Rams some momentum heading into the second half, and J-D controlled the first 20 minutes after their halftime talk.

“They stood up and went toe-to-toe with us after they settled in a little bit,” Burnt Hills coach Brian Bold said. “I give credit to them. They’re a good side. That being said, we had two great opportun­ities in the first 10.”

Not putting the Rams away almost bit the Spartans in the second half, but Burnt Hills recovered to slow down the J-D attack near the end of regulation.

“I think for the first couple of minutes [of the second half], we were kind of back on our heels a little bit,” Wolf said. “Then we stepped up our game, and started playing simple and more direct. We were able to stay with them.”

Burnt Hills generated some attack in the second 10-minute overtime period, not the least of which included an Amanda Malone shot off the crossbar that was cleared out of the box just before Lyden and McAllister could reach the rebound.

McNutt made four saves for Burnt Hills, while Gianni made five for J-D, which finished the season at 17-3-0.

The win earns the 13-4-3 Spartans a berth in the regional championship Saturday at Stillwater against Section X champion Massena, which is 14-2-0.

The Spartans lost last season in the regional semis to Cortland on PKs.

“What we’re going to do is enjoy this one, tomorrow get the day off, then Thursday start working toward Saturday,” Bold said.

Raiders advance

In the Class B regional semifinal, also at Stillwater, Mechanicville survived a late surge by Immaculate Heart of Watertown to win, 2-1.

Mechanicville’s Abby Maiello scored both her team’s goals, one in each half.

Her first came with 23:50 left in the first half on a centering pass from Andrea Mastropietro, which she finished to the right-side netting. Her second came with 7:26 left in the game on a three ball from Alyssas Russell.

“I can’t ask for anything more than good, solid teammates that can get you the ball,” Maiello said.

It was a back-and-forth game, with both teams creating scoring opportunities, but Mechanicville was getting the better looks, not content to sit on its lead.

“We don’t like to sit with just a one-goal lead. It can be anybody’s game,” Maiello said.

Once they got the two-goal lead, coach Liz Villamil said, she thought her girls let up a little bit.

Less than a minute later, the Cavaliers’ Erin McCluskey sent an inswinging corner kick from the left side between the near post and the outstretched arm of Mechanicville keeper Kelsey Desadore.

“We got up, 2-0, and we kind of got confident, too confident, and they really put the pressure on. When you play a good team like this one, you really can’t get lax. You’ve got to continue to play our game.”

The Cavs got a good look in the first half when Katelynn Chamberlain’s corner found the head of Hannah Connolly, who sent it to the right post. Mechanicville’s Tori Bredenberg was on hand to clear the ball away.

“Our defense played really well,” Villamil said. “They’re tough and they’re hard and they’re determined. They work well as a unit, which is really helpful in order to keep teams away from our net.”

Desadore made nine saves for Mechanicville, and Elizabeth Snow made seven for the 16-3-1 Cavs.

Mechanicville moves to 15-2-2 on the season, and will face Section X champion Plattsburgh, coming in at 16-3-1, in Saturday’s regional final at Stillwater.

Categories: High School Sports


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