With his team one win away from returning to the state semifinals, Schalmont girls’ soccer coach Angelo Caschera preached patience as the Lady Sabres prepared for today’s game against Section VII champion Plattsburgh.
“They’re ready to play,” Caschera said of his unbeaten defending state Class B champions, who play at 1 at Chazy, 15 miles north of Plattsburgh. “They just need to stay focused. You don’t know what the other team has, how they play.”
Schalmont is 21-0-0 after Tuesday’s 2-1 regional semifinal win over Section III champion Marcellus. The goal was only the third given up by the Lady Sabres, who have scored 28 goals in five postseason games.
“We were up two, then they scored with 10 minutes left,” said senior co-captain Alexandra Cardinal, part of strong midfield that also includes seniors Rachael Gac and Ciara Vitallo and 11th-grader Madeline Saccocio. “We were a little uncomfortable, definitely. It was a shock, because we haven’t been scored on much all year.”
Caschera has moved senior Isabella Borini, his other captain, from outside back to stopper, with freshmen Kennedy Cronk and Jessica Barnett, and sophomore Hailee Metzold also in the back.
Scoring goals is not a problem for Schalmont, which takes a 44-game winning streak into today’s game, and has outscored its opponents, 140-3, this season.
“We haven’t had the same person score goals,” said Borini. “You can look at our stats, but other teams don’t know who to mark, because we have a lot of people scoring goals.”
Seniors Diana DiCocco and Allie Gallo play up front. DiCocco leads the team with 39 goals. Gac has 24, Gallo 20 and Cardinal is closing in on 20.
“I hope the field is wide so we can use our speed and spread things out.” said Caschera, who has said he is stepping down at the end of the season. “We’d like to get Rachael and Maddie out wide so they can serve the ball in.”
The veteran players know the first 10 minutes of the game could be key.
“His magic phrase is, ‘The ball is round,’ ” Borini said of Caschera. “That basically any team can beat you. It doesn’t matter what your record is, you have to stay focused.”
“We don’t know who the team plays, how they play, who their strong players are,” said Cardinal of the 13-4-2 Hornets, who beat Potsdam, 3-0, in their regional semi. “We have to be ready for whatever they come at us with.”
Guilderland plays Section III champ Liverpool at 5:30 at Fulton High School, as the first-time sectional champion Lady Dutch seek a spot in next weekend’s state Class AA final four.
Guilderland unseated four-time champion Bethlehem, 2-1, Tuesday night, to win a sectional title in Curtis Snyder’s second year as head coach.
“The big breakthrough was getting to the semifinals,” Snyder said. “It seemed like every year, Guilderland would run into Bethlehem in the quarterfinals.”
From a 2-2-1 start, the Lady Dutch take a 15-3-1 record into the game against the 14-5-0 Lady Warriors, 2-0 losers to Bethlehem at this stage last season.
“As the season went on, they got more comfortable with each other, and they started thinking they could make a run,” Snyder said.
Snyder starts seven seniors. Jessica Capone teams with classmates Laurie Knapp and Kara Carman up from. Seniors Ali Cardinal and Angela Luizzi are joined in midfield by 11th-grader Lauren Kogelmann and sophomore Rebecca Golderman.
Senior Jenna Walsh and juniors Brittney Pulliam and Emily Center are the back three in front of Cubello.
“And we don’t lose anything with our first three subs,” said Snyder, who got a huge goal from sophomore Emma Oliver in the sectional final.
Hoosick Falls plays Section VII winner AuSable Valley in a 1:30 Class C regional final at Schuylerville. The 18-0-2 Panthers rolled through the sectionals, outscoring their four opponents, 26-1, capped by 6-0 wins over Albany Academy in the semis and Mechanicville in the championship game.
FORT ANN advances
George Lehoissy put away a Derek Durkee pass 2:08 into overtime Friday to give Fort Ann a 1-0 win over Section IX’s Webutuk in a boys’ Class D regional final at Middletown High School.
The Cardinals earned their third consective trip to the state semifinals, where their season has ended the last two years.
The other four Section II boys champions will be on the road today in regional finals.
Class A champ Troy plays Syracuse Fowler at noon at SUNY-Morrisville, followed by the Class AA game between unbeaten Bethlehem and Utica Proctor.
Hoosick Falls plays Lake Placid in the 1 p.m. Class C opener of a double-header at Plattsburgh High School, with Ichabod Crane meeting Northeastern Clinton in Class B to follow.