Two quick goals send Shenendehowa girls’ soccer team to Suburban Council title game

ERICA MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERAva Caputo of Shenendehowa celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Guilderland Thursday in a Suburban Council girls' soccer tournament semifinal game at Shenendehowa.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

ERICA MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Ava Caputo of Shenendehowa celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Guilderland Thursday in a Suburban Council girls' soccer tournament semifinal game at Shenendehowa.

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, High School Sports, Sports

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.

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