Ever since Scotia-Glenville stunned perennial power Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake for the Section II Class A girls’ soccer title a year ago, the Spartans had a bad taste in their mouths.
Everything tastes better now.
The Spartans, who won nine straight championships before being dethroned, returned to their customary position on top with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Mohonasen Saturday afternoon at Stillwater High School.
In the Class B championship game, unbeaten Schalmont (20-0), the No. 1-ranked team in the state, used a pair of goals from junior Sydnee Metzold to pound Voorheesville 4-1.
Burnt Hills (11-6-2) needed a fortunate bounce to win its game against the feisty Mighty Warriors.
Alyssa Hughes, a senior midfielder, collected her 10th goal of the season when she barely got to a loose ball in front of the net before Mohonasen goalie Milan Pfister could get to it with 4:50 left in the first half. That score stood up, thanks to some dominating play in the midfield from senior Kylee Babcock.
“I was just trying to get to the ball before anybody else got to it, and I put it into the back of the net,” said Hughes. “This win feels great. We worked really hard last year, but it was almost like we felt like we deserved to win. We were very surprised when Scotia beat us last year.
“We’ve been thinking about this game for a long time. Last year, we thought we had that game against Scotia won, and the loss seemed to come out of nowhere. This feels great.”
Babcock agreed with Hughes that it was a long wait to get back on top for the Spartans.
“This definitely feels great after what happened to us last year,” she said. “We had a long streak before Scotia beat us, and now we can start another streak. We definitely wanted to dominate the midfield against them. Fortunately, we played Mohonasen at the end of the regular season, so we knew what to expect from them. We knew that girl Lexi [Coelho] was very good and that they had two very good forwards. Our seniors really wanted to win this game.”
BH-BL coach Brian Bold admitted that last year’s defeat in the championship game was hard to take.
“I wouldn’t say that we had a chip on our shoulder, but I definitely had a bad taste in my mouth after that loss last year. I have a good taste in my mouth now,” Bold said.
“This is the 10th championship for this program with me involved, but it’s a different group of girls and a different era. I would say the key for us is that we had 10 seniors on this team. I’m very proud of them. They’re the reason we won this championship.”
Bold was especially proud of the way Babcock controlled the middle of the field.
“Our midfielders killed it today,” he said. “I knew we would be pretty good this year, but I wasn’t exactly sure how strong. The final four teams in Class A were the ones I thought would be there. I just didn’t know in what order. But I can tell you that our defense has been strong all year. Our three defensive backs are just tenacious.”
BH-BL edged Mohonasen 2-1 on Oct. 15, and Saturday’s game was just as tight.
“This was one of those games where the ball didn’t bounce our way,” said Mohonasen coach Vito Urbano, whose Mighty Warriors finished 7-11-1. “Normally, we clear the ball away in that situation, but today, we just couldn’t get there. Burnt Hills is a very good team, but I’m proud of the way we played today.”
Sophomore goalie Anna Scott picked up the shutout for the Spartans.
Schalmont had a brilliant performance against 18-2 Voorheesville. The Sabres scored a pair of goals in each half and showed why they are ranked as the state’s top team in their class.
“The last time we played them [a 5-3 Schalmont win], they scored two goals on us right away, and we had to play from behind,” said Schalmont coach Alaina Resue. “That’s why we knew it was very important to score first today. We flipped the script on them.”
After eighth-grader Davia Rossi scored with 22 minutes left in the half, senior Rachel DiCocco made a perfect crossing pass to Metzold, who nailed her 25th goal of the season.
“When Davia started playing for us, I used her as a reserve,” Resue said. “But all the players treated her great, and after a while, she was just too good to keep her on the bench. Everyone has accepted her on the team, and it helps that she has a sister [Julia] that is a senior, as well.”
In the second half, Metzold extended the Sabres’ lead to 3-0 with a left-footed blast from 20 yards out.
Voorheesville finally got on the board with a goal by Julia Voss on a cross from high-scoring Veda Hensel, but the Sabres put the icing on the cake when sophomore Kaylie Older scored with 10 minutes left in the game.
“We knew Voorheesville was a very good team, and we knew they would be coming after us,” said Rossi. “We have a very good defensive team.”
Resue agreed, noting that although she has many youngsters up front on offense, her defense is anchored by three seniors.
“That’s where we have all our experience,” Resue said. “We have Rachel Strijek, Rachel DiCocco and Kennedy Cronk back there. They call themselves ‘Defense Nation.’
“We like to spread it out on offense and then play very good defense. Being the top-ranked team in the state, everyone has been shooting for us. When we first got that ranking back in September, I was very surprised. Everyone plays you harder when you are No. 1 in the state, but it helps to have good senior leadership to go along with our younger players. I’m so proud of this team.”