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Overtime scoring burst lifts Shenendehowa soccer

Overtime scoring burst lifts Shenendehowa soccer

Plainsmen win 4-0 in overtime
Overtime scoring burst lifts Shenendehowa soccer
Saratoga goalkeeper Lexi Bakkalapulo secures the ball over Shenendehowa’s Jenn Kirker and teammate Makayla Booth Thursday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

CLIFTON PARK — Shenendehowa and visiting Saratoga Springs were scoreless through Thursday’s regulation.

Yet, after overtime, the Plainsmen walked away with a 4-0 Suburban Council girls’ soccer victory.


“I — honestly — I don’t know. I mean, we came out with a lot of energy in the first 80 minutes and then we just kept that energy going. I don’t know,” Shenendehowa senior Ava Sullivan said. “The intensity went up. We knew what we wanted, we wanted to win. . . . We wanted to really do amazing — and we did.”

Shenendehowa (12-0-0, 13-1-0) scored twice in the first 10-minute overtime session, then added two more in the second extra session against Saratoga Springs (8-2-2, 8-4-2) in a meeting of top teams and archrivals. Sullivan scored two goals, while senior Amanda O’Brien and junior Michelle Clarkin each scored one.

The Plainsmen had the majority of opportunities throughout regulation, and head coach Holli Nirsberger’s team had one scoring chance after another in the final 10 minutes of the second half.

“Everybody kind of felt like the flow was going in our favor, so it was just a matter of being patient enough to get one on frame — not on post, not over,” Nirsberger said. “Just to put one in and get us started.”

Quickly, that happened in overtime. A cross from Shenendehowa senior Kelly Hamlin in the 85th minute got past Saratoga Springs senior goalie Lexi Bakkalapulo, who had charged out from her position, and found the foot of O’Brien.

“I kind of timed my run so that when the ball came across the goal, I knew if the keeper missed it, I had a wide open shot on net,” O’Brien said.


“And that was goal No. 1,” O’Brien said of her game-winner.

Sullivan scored two minutes later. In the second overtime session, Clarkin made it 3-0 in the 95th minute, and Sullivan finished the game’s scoring in the next minute.

“You have to be relentless,” Sullivan said.

Injuries mounted for Saratoga Springs late in the contest, as the Blue Streaks lost senior Makayla Booth and junior Julia DiMenna in the second half. In overtime, Saratoga Springs’ personnel losses became too much to overcome for the Blue Streaks after they hung with the Suburban Council’s top team for all of regulation.

“This turned into a learning experience for us,” Saratoga Springs head coach Adrienne Dannehy said.

It was that, too, for the Plainsmen. Nerves, O’Brien said, hindered Shenendehowa for the game’s first 80 minutes.

“That’s the key to our team,” O’Brien said. “We need to relax instead of being so frantic, and we sometimes get like that in these big games because there’s so much hype around it.”

In the end, though, Shenendehowa was able to calm itself before it ran out of time.

“We wanted it,” Clarkin said. “We were just hungry to win.”

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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