Late goal lifts Gloversville past Amsterdam

A game of soccer is more often won by the team that is able to execute and finish the play. Tuesday night, the Gloversville Lady Dragons varsity soccer team was outshot by the Amsterdam Lady Rams but made good on what chances they had by getting one goal in each half including the game winner by Hailey Dunlap to defeat Amsterdam 2-1 at Lynch Literacy Academy Field.

Tied at 1-1 after the first half, Dunlap sprinted down the field skillfully keeping the ball away from Amsterdam defender Kaitlyn Devine who was close behind her. Dunlap fired a shot to the left of AHS goalkeeper Cassandra Robataille beating her to the corner of the net with 17:54 left to play.

“That was a nice goal by Hailey Dunlap,” Gloversville coach Mike Hallenback said. “Cassie (Robatille) is a very good goalkeeper, and I think we made her work tonight. A nice goal by Hailey beating her to the corner.”

Following the goal, Amsterdam coach Deanna Alex saw the need for speed from her team and made a switch moving defender Devine to the forward position and transferring Edena Sanchez to the defense to counter the quickness of the Gloversville strikers.

“I needed the speed in back,” Alex said. “Kaitlyn Devine has the ball handling skills and can score. I needed her up front.”

The move led to more scoring chances for the Lady Rams including three corner kicks in the final minutes of play, but the Lady Rams couldn’t capitalize despite fighting through Gloversville’s strategy to keep them bottled up in their own end of the field.

“We just didn’t finish the play tonight,” Alex said.

Gloversville’s quickness was crucial is the game’s first goal. Sierra Fancher moved in on Robataille, who had already denied her with a kick save in the opening minute of the game. This time however, Fancher stayed a step ahead of the defense and fired at point blank range past Robatialle at the 29:08 mark to give the Lady Dragons the 1-0 lead.

“Our girls executed well,” Coach Hallenback said. “Sierra Fancher played a heck of a game.”

Fancher nearly put Gloversville up by two goals as she broke away from a pair of AHS defenders midway through the first half. Devine sprinted 30 yards to intercept Fancher and kicked the ball out of harms way before she could put a shot on goal. The efforts of the AHS defenders gave the offense several chances to score.

The Lady Rams almost had the equalizer moments before Fancher’s run. Sophomore forward Lucia Liverio had the ball on her foot and fired as she closed in on Lady Dragons goalkeeper Alex Benfatti, but the ball sailed over the goal. The Lady Rams finally did put the ball in the net with 1:05 left in the first half when the team’s top scorer Edena Sanchez kicked one high over the outstretched hands of Benfatti and into the front corner of the net. Amsterdam outshot Gloversville 16-9, but didn’t finish on enough of their scoring chances to get the win. Benfatti made nine saves while Robataille finished with four.

“I didn’t think we played our best tonight,” Coach Hallenback said. “But, we played well enough to win.”

The loss dropped the Lady Rams to 5-8 overall and 3-8 in the Foothills Council. Amsterdam will host the Lady Bulldogs of South Glens Falls on Thursday before finishing the regular season schedule at Scotia-Glenville the following Wednesday. Amsterdam will host a crossover game on Friday, October 16, and then await their seeding for the Section 2 Class A tournament.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.