There’s a reason the Niskayuna girls’ soccer team has run through its first dozen games of the season without a blemish.
Actually, there are 21 reasons why the Lady Silver Warriors are four wins from a perfect 16-0-0 finish after stifling Suburban Council North Division rival Shenendehowa, 2-0, Tuesday night.
“We are a very deep team,” said junior Meghan Doyle, whose 17th goal broke the ice with 4:01 remaining in the first half. “We have talented players all over the field.”
“I’ve got lots of choices,” said Niskayuna coach Bryce Colby, who substituted liberally and without hesitation, more often than not getting a spark from whomever entered the game. “We had a lot of girls play great games tonight.”
Having center midfielder Jenny Cascino, one of seven seniors on the roster, back from injury has only contributed to the depth.
“Jenny makes a difference,” said Doyle, who had a handful of chances on the left side before sophomore defender Sophia Constantine sprung her for a one-on-one with Shenendehowa goalkeeper Makala Foley. “She’s great on the ball and at combining with people on passes.“
“Getting her back on the field has been a big plus,” said Colby. “Then I take her out of the game, and our freshman scores.”
That ninth-grader was midfielder Hannah Munro, who held her position after a corner kick and ripped a shot that deflected off a defender and just inside the left post with seven seconds to play in the first half.
“It’s like hitting that last-second shot in basketball,” said Colby. “That goal was so big. If they get it, it’s 1-1 and it’s a different game. We get it, and now we’re up two. That second goal made it look like a bigger win than it was, but it was a hard-fought battle.”
“It was nice that we got a goal from a different person and different player,” said Munro, knowing that Doyle and senior Anka Parzych are her team’s main threats. “Even at 2-0, we were still trying to get a goal. But the last 10 minutes were critical, not letting them get a goal to get back into the game.”
“From 1-0 to 2-0 is a huge difference,” said Doyle. “Up 1-0, you’re only one goal away from a tie game and having to start all over again.”
Foley had little chance on either goal, and her play kept Niskayuna from winning by a larger margin.
“Makala was outstanding,” said Shenendehowa coach Holli Mulholland.
“Makala Foley played very well. It could have been 0-0,” said Colby. “She was phenomenal the first time we played them.”
It was at the other end that Shenendehowa had problems.
Niskayuna’s back four of sophomores Constantine and center back Stephanie Tate and seniors Allie Shea and Olivia Jaquith helped hold the 8-3-1 Lady Plainsmen to just three shots.
“We’re doing great getting into the attacking third, but we’re not finishing,” said Mulholland, whose team has scored just 21 goals. “It’s that final third where we’re having trouble. We’re in a little bit of a drought right now.
“That second goal was tough to come back from. I’m not unsatisfied with the way we played, it’s just that final third.”
“Our defense deserves a lot of credit,” said Doyle. “They’ve played great all year.”
Jaquith drew the tough assignment of marking Kristen Connors, Shenendehowa’s best field player.
“Olivia has what I call a military mindset. ‘Tell me what needs to be done, and I’ll do it,’ ” said Colby. “She is a workhorse defender. She’s going to chase. She’s going to tackle. She’s disciplined. She reads the game pretty well. She’s strong, fast. She doesn’t do fancy stuff, but she’s there.
“They all played well in the back.”
With four games remaining, all against North Division rivals, Colby isn’t thinking about running the table.
“We’re just trying to stay consistent,” he said.