CLIFTON PARK — Shenendehowa got the early goal it so much desired.
Another came soon after.
Ava Caputo and Georgia Greene connected before the first 20-minute mask break, and the Plainsmen set up a Suburban Council girls’ soccer tournament final between unbeaten teams by dispatching Guilderland 2-0 Thursday.
“It was like the weight came off our shoulders when I got that,” Caputo said of her goal 2:52 into the semifinal contest. “But we still had to keep working.”
The Plainsmen (No. 1 seed, 12-0-1) did that, continuing their scoring quest while pitching a shutout against the Dutch (No. 5, 6-5-2) for the second time this fall.
“At the beginning of the season we weren’t sure if we’d get to this point,” said Caputo, a senior midfielder. “This is a great feeling.”
Shenendehowa will host Shaker (No. 2, 12-0-1) Saturday at 11 a.m. in the tournament title game after the Blue Bison edged Niskayuna 1-0 in their semifinal. Shenendehowa and Shaker played to a 0-0 tie on Oct. 6.
“We’re thankful for the opportunity,” Shenendehowa coach Holli Nirsberger said. “We came into September not knowing if we’d get this far.”
It took a goal by Maia LaVigne with eight minutes left to get Shenendehowa past eighth-seeded Colonie 1-0 in a Tuesday nailbiter and into the semifinal round.
Caputo matched that goal with a drive to the upper left corner of the net before Thursday’s game was three minutes old.
“Our game plan was to go, and to get that [goal], it was huge coming off a little bit of a nightmare,” Nirsberger said.
A team captain and “our workhorse,” according to Nirsberger, Caputo also scored when Shenendehowa opened its season with a 1-0 win over Guilderland.
“We worked a lot in practice on going out hard,” Caputo said. “To get those two goals was awesome.”
Greene scored with 27:57 left in the first half from close range.
“It took us a little bit to get into it,” said Guilderland assistant coach Chelsea Corrow, who, for a second tourney game, filled in for head coach Curtis Snyder as he continued a COVID-19-related quarantine. “Once we got in a groove, we did well.”
While Guilderland did hold Shenendehowa in check after the two goals — Dutch goalkeeper Molly DiCaprio made an exceptional sliding save in the second half — its offensive threats were limited.
“We had a few chances,” Corrow said. “We were close.”
Saturday’s title game will pit soccer teams that saw their 2019 seasons end in the Section II Class AA semifinals.
Halftime: Shenendehowa led 2-0. Guilderland scoring: None. Shenendehowa scoring: Caputo 1-0, Greene 1-0. Goalkeepers: Guilderland, DiDaprio, 15 saves. Shenendehowa, Franklin, 3 saves.