Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Comeback kids strike again; Hoosic Valley girls soccer tops Stillwater, 3-2

Hoosic Valley High School's Janelle Stannard pushes the ball downfield as Stillwater's Kristen Brewster pursues during Wednesday's Wasaren League game at Stillwater. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

STILLWATER — The girls soccer team at Hoosic Valley High School is on a mission this season – the Indians are in pursuit of the first Wasaren League regular season title in school history – and so were Mollie Gilchrist and Janelle Stannard in the final 20 minutes of Wednesday’s game at Stillwater.

Gilchrist crossed a pass right in front of Stillwater goalkeeper Lizz Morris and Stannard slid through traffic and kicked the ball into the net for the go-ahead goal with 5:44 to play as Hoosic Valley posted a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Warriors.

“It was the most beautiful cross ever,” laughed Stannard.

“She had been making that run all day and all season and I just knew if I could kind of give it a little cross she would finish on it,” said Gilchrist.

With the teams tied at halftime, Stannard and Stillwater’s Brooke Ferrell scored first half goals, Stillwater’s Sarahann Mistretta scored the go-ahead goal on a penalty kick with 22:21 remaining.

Gilchrist answered fewer than four minutes later with a right-footed blast past Stillwater’s Lizz Morris for Hoosic Valley’s equalizer.

Still, it was Gilchrist’s perfect pass and Stannard’s smooth finish that lifted Hoosic Valley (9-2-0, 11-2-0) to its second come-from-behind victory over Stillwater (3-5-3, 3-6-4) this season.

“I’ve had Mollie with me for five years and Janelle for three and they’ve gotten to know each other and gotten to know the moves,” said Hoosic Valley head coach Joel Beecroft. “They talk, they practice it and on that last goal, you couldn’t draw it up any prettier than that.”

Stillwater’s senior goalkeeper, Lizz Morris, made 15 saves. Hoosic Valley freshman netminder Samantha Carlo stopped five shots.
Stillwater's Erica Nichols and Hoosic Valley's Mollie Gilchrist battle for control of the ball during Wednesday's Wasaren League game at Stillwater.

Gilchrist has scored 22 goals this season and Stannard has tallied 13.

Hoosic Valley, which was ranked No. 15 in the New York State Sportswriters Association Class B poll, will host Class C’s No. 13 Cambridge (8-2-1, 9-3-1) Friday at 4:15 p.m. in another Wasaren League showdown.

“We’ve gotten really good this year at being resilient and keeping our mental focus during the games,” Gilchrist said. “Come from behind victories have been our thing, unfortunately.”

The gymnasium at Hoosic Valley High School is practically wallpapered with banners touting the success of the girls basketball and softball programs, but the Indians have never won a regular season league title before. That goal is what has motivated the team all season long, even as basketball season looms.

“It’s soccer season, not basketball season,” Gilchrist said. “I think that everyone wants to be here and play every game.”

“We have a strong sting of athletes on the team,” said Stannard. “I think we’re all in it this year. We want it more. We’re all competitive.”

The Indians need just two more wins to tie the school record and their recent New York State ranking was a first in program history.

Beecroft joked that he will be crying at graduation – Gilchrist, Stannard and Haley Culver are the three seniors on the roster – but he has also been thrilled with the contributions from his underclassmen.

Hoosic Valley's Allie Robert balances the ball on her forehead as Stillwater's Erica Nichols looks on during Wednesday's Wasaren League girls soccer game.

“I’ve got 15 kids and it takes every one of them to make this thing work,” he said. “Some of them don’t get an awful lot of playing time, but they know if I need them for two minutes, or if I need them for three minutes, that’s going to be it and so far, we’ve lived with that and they’ve accepted that and played well.

“It’s nice. You ask them to do something and they just go do it. It’s just a really nice group of kids. They want to play hard and make something of the year.”

Hoosic Valley (9-2-0, 11-2-0) 1 2 — 3
Stillwater (3-5-3, 3-6-4) 1 1 — 2
Scoring: HV: Stannard 2-0, Gilchrist 1-2. S: Ferrell 1-0, Mistretta 1-0.
Goalie saves: HV: Carlo, 5. S: Morris, 15.
Corner kicks: HV: 5. S: 2.

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