Stay clean and gather momentum along the way.
Johnstown’s field hockey team has done both of those things since it lost its only game this season against rival Glens Falls.
Ashley Dona scored three goals before Tuesday’s Foothills Council matchup with Hudson Falls was five minutes old, and the Lady Bills threw a suffocating defense over the Tigers in a 10-0 victory at Knox Field.
Dona finished with five goals and an assist, Cody Cooper keyed Johnstown’s transition attack with his shifty stick work, and the Lady Bills (5-1, 6-1) held the Tigers (2-3, 3-4) without a shot until the final minute for their third win in a row.
Johnstown beat South Glens Falls, 2-0, and roughed up Scotia-Glenville, 5-0, before Tuesday’s triumph that included a six-goal first-half outburst, and a 17-1 advantage for the Lady Bills on penalty corners.
“Coach told us to go in with a good mindset and do what had to be done,” said Dona, a junior forward. “We want to make statements this year. So far, we’re off to a good start.”
The only slipup was a 2-0 setback at Glens Falls on Sept. 13. Johnstown humbled both Gloversville and Queensbury before that, winning those games by a combined 14-0. Johnstown also owns a 2-1 win over Shenendehowa, the reigning Section II Class A champion.
Johnstown has games against Queensbury and Gloversville before hosting Glens Falls (6-0, 9-0) one week from Thursday.
“We only talk about one game at a time, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not thinking about Glens Falls already,” said Johnstown coach Tracy Ringer. “We need to win every game until we play Glens Falls.
“We want to ride that wave. Momentum is everything, especially at the high school level. We want to continue to gain confidence and keep building as a team.”
Johnstown and Glens Falls split two league games in 2009 and shared the Foothills Council title. Glens Falls won the league crown last season, going 12-0 and dealing Johnstown its only two defeats.
“This could be a mirror image of 2009, when we tied for first. We lost at Glens Falls, and then we beat them at home,” said Ringer. “If we can beat them, and if we win the rest of our games, and if they win the rest of theirs, it will happen. That’s a lot of ifs, but you could definitely see that happen.”
Glens Falls not only beat Johnstown twice in league play last season, but also in the Section II Class B final for the third consecutive year.
“The last five years, they’ve grown to be our biggest rival,” Ringer said. “The girls and myself, we know we’ll see them again in the postseason. It would be nice to go into that game with a win over them, with the knowledge that we can do it.”
“If we keep working together, everything will be fine,” said Dona. “We’re a strong team.”
Johnstown was never threatened Tuesday, building a 5-0 lead before Hudson Falls made its first penetration, and going up, 6-0, on Dona’s fourth goal with 12:40 left in the opening half.
“Today, we were working on being in an offensive mindset. We were working on staying in postion. Staying in lanes. Communicating. There was a lot of fine tuning,” said Ringer, whose team held a 27-1 advantage in shots. “It was a good day to build confidence and trust in each other. You can’t simulate that in practice.”
“We played very well as a team today,” said Dona, who notched her first goal on the Lady Bills’ first shots just 37 seconds in. “We talked and made a lot of good connections.”
Cooper had a goal and three assists, Emma Heroth had a goal and two assists, and Alexis Swatt, Hope Cerasuolo and Mikaela Etherton also scored goals.
“Once the game was in our favor, I was able to pull some starters and get other kids some experience, and that should pay off down the road. There will be times when we need them,” said Ringer.
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Categories: -Sports, High School Sports