COLONIE — A quick goal and one defensive stand after another has the Saratoga Springs girls’ soccer team knocking on the playoff door.
Emme Baldwin scored 36 seconds into Tuesday night’s Suburban Council game at Colonie, and the Blue Streaks dug in afterward and caught a few breaks, too, in a 1-0 win.
Saratoga (4-6-0) snapped a four-game slide and boosted its point total to 12 in its quest for one of the final spots in the eight-team league tournament that starts next week. Colonie (3-5-2), which had gone 2-0-1 in recent games, remains at 11 points.
“We’ve taken some hits, but we’re still here,” Saratoga coach Adrienne Dannehy said. “Our girls have continued to play hard. Quitting is not in their vocabulary. I am so proud of their effort after some tough losses.”
Colonie continuously sprung its fastbreak offense, but was denied when either the Saratoga defense closed in, a shot missed the mark, or Gwyn Long made a save.
Long’s 10th and final stop came with 3:30 left when she stuffed Nosa Omorogbe’s close-range bid near the right post. Long made a kick save on an attempt by Isabella Franchi a minute earlier, and Franchi’s shot off the rebound went wide right.
“Credit to them,” Colonie coach Ryan Edson said of the Blue Streaks, whose defense was anchored by seniors Hailey Baldwin, Zoe Cubanski and Tessa Pierce. “They played super hard. They beat us fair and square.”
“It feels real good to get a win,” Emme Baldwin said. “It’s our first one in a while.”
Baldwin did her part when her drive from the top of the box sneaked just under the crossbar and beyond the outstretched arms of Hailey Blake before the game was a minute old.
“I dribbled in and took a shot,” Baldwin said of her second goal this fall. “I wanted to surprise them a little bit.”
“Brilliant goal,” Dannehy said. “She sliced and diced and shot it. I’ve wanted to see that all year. Just beautiful.”
Colonie hadn’t allowed a goal in its two games before Tuesday, in wins over Albany and Guilderland.
“That’s sports,” Edson said of the game’s lone goal. “One moment. That’s all you need. It was a great look by their girl.”
Colonie had a bunch of them after, including a shot by Sofia Sanzo that nailed the crossbar 5:10 into the contest.
“Colonie has some fast players up top,” Dannedy said, noting Sanzo, a sophomore, and Omorogbe, a freshman.
“It was great to see our kids the way they kept going,” Edson said. “We gave it our all. Sometimes you come up short.”
Colonie’s Mia VanDyke was tripped just outside the box and was awarded a direct kick with 20 minutes left, but her shot was straight and Gwyn made the save.
“This game could have gone either way,” Dannehy said.
Saratoga will host Averill Park Saturday in its last regular season game, while Colonie travels to Troy to finish up.
Halftime: Saratoga led 1-0. Saratoga scoring: E. Baldwin 1-0. Colonie scoring: None. Goalkeepers: Saratoga, Long, 10 saves. Colonie, Blake, 2 saves; York, 5 saves.