A light rain began to fall at the start of the Lady Rams varsity soccer game last night. By late in the second half it became a wind driven splatter that turned umbrellas inside out and made playing conditions difficult but not impossible. Niether the fans or players were deterred , but only 48 hours after their most dramatic win of the season, the Amsterdam Lady Rams run at Class A sectionals ended at the hands of the Averill Park Lady Warriors with a 4-0 loss in a first round game Wednesday night at Lynch Literacy Academy field.
“We played hard and were underdogs all year,” said Averill Park coach Nate Luskin, whose team came in as a tenth seed after finishing 1-15 in a tough Suburban Council. “Having only one win in the Suburban Council this year we knew we were underdogs. We battled through the season and that helped us in this game.”
There were few scoring chances in the first half and both teams managed only three shots on goal. The Lady Warriors were a little better in taking advantage of what few opportunities either team had. Much of the action was bottled up at mid field with few break out chances. A corner kick in the twenty third minute became the difference maker. Averill Park forward Sofie Sorriento redirected the ball with her head past AHS goalkeeper Cassandra Robataille for the 1-0 lead that Averill Park maintained at half time.
“That corner kick was the the one opportunity they had in the first half,” said AHS coach Deanna Alex. “We didn’t play up to par tonight.”
Despite the lead by their opponent, the Lady Rams were still determined to take the game. Robataille gathered her teammates together at the half and reminded them of what they had accomplished during the season and drew comparisons to what famous USA women’s World Cup teams had done in the past to come back and win. The Lady Rams went out determined to even the score quickly, but less than thirty seconds into the second half it began to slip away.
Caitlin O’Shea made good on a breakaway chance and fired one past a diving Robataille at the 39:31 mark of the second period. The 2-0 lead in increasingly sloppy conditions seemed insurmountable.
“It was hard to get back up once we were down 2-0,” said AHS senior Madison Healy. “We went out thinking we would step it up and it didn’t go our way.”
AHS appeared to catch another bad break when Robataille came up limping after the play..But, the junior standout goalkeeper remained in the game and recorded six saves in the second half. Three of those saves came quickly when she blocked an attempt from the right side by O’ Shea, and then turned away two rebound attempts at point black range when the ball landed on the foot of McKenzie Duncan
Those three quick stops drew familiar praise from her coach.
“I’ve been saying it all year, she’s a fantastic keeper,” said Coach Alex. “They were just able to find the holes tonight. Cassie’s a great keeper and I’m glad she’ll be here for one more year.”
McKenzie Duncan slipped one past Robataille at the 16:15 mark for a 3-0 lead, and Kat Stackrow bounced one off the cross bar and in with less than two minutes left for the final margin of victory. Robataille made seven saves on the night. Her counterpart Claire Millington made two.
“Their goalkeeper was great, and we knew she would be, having seen her play of Capital United,” said Averill Park coach Luskin. “They had good midfielders too. It was a 4-0 game but it didn’t have to be that way.”
Amsterdam had chances to score. Healy and defender Kaitlyn Devine moved the ball through an obstacle course of defenders deep in the Averill Park zone in the first half, only to be turned away each time. An indirect kick by Diana Constantine soared over the net with three minutes left in the first half, and later a second half corner kick by Constantine crossed in front of the Averill Park net without anyone getting a foot or head on it. Both Devine and Constantine will return next season, but for Healy Wednesday nights’ contest was her last game for AHS.
“It really broke my heart,” said Healy whose team had earned the seventh seed in the tournament after Monday nights dramatic 1-0 win at Schuylerville when Lucia Liverio’s goal and a determined AHS team achieved an 8-8 record and an automatic bid in the Section 2 Class A tournament after only their first year in the Foothills Council.
“I went in thinking we had it,” said Healy “If we went out there and played the way we did against Schuylerville we could have won. I’m more than proud of my team. This was my senior year and I’m happy we made it to sectionals.”
Amsterdam finished the season at 8-9 overall. Averill Park advances to face perennial Class A champion Burnt Hills in a quarterfinal on Friday afternoon at Union College.