The names may have changed — the first names, anyway — but the results have been the same for the Schalmont girls’ soccer team.
The Lady Sabres won their third straight Section II title Thursday night, beating Catholic Central, 4-1, in the Class BB final.
Schalmont once again got major contributions from younger sisters of players who carried the Lady Sabres to a state title in 2011 and a spot in the state semis a year ago,
Rachel Cardinal scored a goal and drew a foul that drew a penalty-kick goal for Madeline Saccocio, and Rachel Strijek and Rachel DiCocco played key roles at the other side of midfield to get the 19-0-0 Colonial Council champs a showdown with two-time state champ Hoosick Falls for a spot in the regionals. That game will be back here Saturday at 2:30.
The speed and ability to penetrate and get off shots by both Cardinal and Bianca Mascitelli was too much for the Lady Crusaders to handle, and also opened up the middle of the field.
“One of the great things about this team is there is no one player you have to look out for,” said first-year head coach Alaina Lange. “If they shut us down in the midfield, we can get the ball outside. They work together. That’s hard to beat.”
Cardinal’s quickness resulted in her being fouled at the top of the penalty area 9;38 into the game. Saccocio, one of only two seniors on the team, stepped up and drilled home the PK.
Schalmont kept the Big 10 champions on their heels, pushing forward from both flanks and up the middle. It paid off less than five minutes later when Mascitelli, an 11th-grader, made it 2-0.
Catholic Central cut the lead in half when Madison Purcell’s 30-yard free kick eluded goalkeeper Gabby Juers.
No matter. The Lady Sabres simply went back on attack, with Cardinal and Mascitelli getting goals for a 4-1 halftime lead.
“We prepared ourselves for that situation,” said Lange of the CCHS score. “We know that, against good teams, they’re bound to get one or two in the back of the net. They’re bound to get good opportunities. If we can control the number of opportunities that they get, and be able to stay calm, be poised and patient and continue to attack, our opportunities will continue to come.”
“That’s what’s great, we have so many threats,” said Saccocio. “If one person is covered, there’s someone else to pick them up.”
Schalmont’s back three of freshman Alexis Horwedel and sophomores DiCocco and Kennedy Cronk adjusted to Catholic Central’s direct attack of playing balls over the top to its strikers.
“They wanted to play long, so we had to watch our depth. We didn’t let anyone get in behind us,” said Cronk.
“We played against a couple of teams like that during the season, so we kind of knew a game plan coming in,” Lange said. “They have faith in one an other, so if one gets beat, the others are going to help and give them time to recover.”
Central midfielders Saccocio, Julia Rossi and Hailee Metzold dominated the second half, winning nearly every ball.
“They know going in, when they’re ahead the other team is going to work twice as hard to come back,” Lange said. “They have to get off the ball. The key to the second half was getting off the ball. They did a great job of getting open for each other so we could possess the ball, keep hold of if so they couldn’t get opportunties to come back.”
Abbie Brundage scored in the first half, and Tabea Salzmann connected in the second as top-seeded Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville (14-3-1) beat Bolton, 2-0, in a Class D semifinal at Schuylerville.
The Wolves will meet Fort Ann in Wednesday’s 2:30 final at Stillwater. Fort Ann beat New Lebanon in double overtime, 3-2.
Albany became the first non-Suburban Council team in more than 25 years to reach the large-school boys’ soccer final when the Falcons beat top-seeded Shenendehowa,
2-1, at Colonie High School in a Class AA semifinal.
Emmanuel Ishiwe scored a goal, and the Falcons benefitted from a Shenendehowa own goal to raise their record to 14-3-1. The Big 10 champions had beaten 2012 champion Bethlehem in the quarterfinals.
Guilderland grabbed the other spot in Monday’s 5 p.m. title game here with a 1-0 win over Shaker.
Chris Czekay scored from a Connor O’Brien assist for the 14-4-0 Dutchmen, in their first final since winning a championship in 2008.