NISKAYUNA — A stiff tailwind put some air in Niskayuna’s sails to start the second half.
Some stiff play by Riley Grimm and Guilderland’s defense took that air away.
Grimm scored her second goal of the game in the 49th minute to give the Lady Dutch a 2-0 victory in Suburban Council girls’ soccer on Tuesday, as Guilderland (1-1) relied heavily on senior goalie Molly DiCaprio’s steady play in net and booming goal kicks.
With Niskayuna (1-1) pressing for the equalizer after halftime, DiCaprio was able to repeatedly clear the ball past midfield into the teeth of the wind, forcing the Silver Warriors to reset their offense from at least square two, if not square one.
Grimm made it 2-0 when she was able to outbattle Niskayuna goalie Emma Anderson for a high ball into the box, then it was left to DiCaprio and a defense led by sweeper Lauren Conti to keep it clean.
“We knew we had to score another one, because their momentum picked up and they were going to have the wind at their back,” Grimm said. “That second one really put us over the edge.”
“Riley’s really tricky, so she sometimes makes people do things they don’t normally do,” Guilderland head coach Curtis Snyder said. “The goalie had to come out both times, but Riley’s got great footwork.
“It’s [second goal] big because it puts you up two-nothing, but also because you always think when you have the wind, you have the advantage, and for us to be able to counteract that and put one in against the wind, it does play into teams’ psyches a little bit.”
Grimm made it 1-0 in the 19th minute assisted by Paige Miller when Niskayuna failed to control a long ball into the box.
The Silver Warriors’ Grace Mackey had a good chance to tie 3:40 into the second half when she picked up the ball with her back to the goal, turned a punched a hard low shot on net. DiCaprio was able to get on the ground the smother it.
Niskayuna continued to rack up corner kicks, with nothing to show for them, then Grimm scored her second, assisted by Grade Renaud, with 31:10 left in the second half.
“I thought the first 25 minutes of the game we really,
really played well,” Niskayuna head coach Bryce Colby said. “We had the ball most of the time, we were playing in the attacking end of the field.
“I look at a game like that and say, ‘OK, it’s two games in, what do we have to do to improve?’ We were able to move the ball to 30-35 yards from goal, but couldn’t solve Guilderland after that point. So we’ve got to find other ways to get past that mark, other than just dribbling by people.”
Grimm, who had 10 goals last season, nearly scored her third of the game with 7:30 left to play, but her shot went high.
By then, DiCaprio and Guilderland’s Conti-led defense had things under control.
“We love our goalie,” Grimm said. “Her reflexes are very quick and she’s always ready. Her kicks are amazing. A lot of goalies can’t get it that far. To have a goalie who can get it halfway and make those quick decisions is really beneficial for the team.”
“She’s the Section II goalie of the year, so everyone knows she’s good, but she’s good beyond the goalie stuff, angles and talking . . . she can hit the ball,” Snyder said. “So we don’t really worry about our goal kicks. It’s a huge advantage, because now we don’t have another person have to do it and they can be upfield.
“She [Conti] is like ice out there. She is so calm, which is nice, because sometimes you can see it get frantic, but she’s been playing for so long that she invariably makes the right choice, the right decision.”
“Their entire defense was just really rugged and determined,” Colby said. “They made everything difficult.”
Halftime score: Guilderland led 1-0. Guilderland scoring: Grimm 2-0, Miller 0-1, Renaud 0-1. Niskayuna scoring: None.
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