Monday, October 25, 2010

Fit to be tied: Hoosic Valley girls win first-ever Wasaren League regular season title

Hoosic Valley sophomore midfielder Kim Kocienski hugs head coach Joel Beecroft following the Indians' 1-1 tie with Cambridge Monday, which clinched the Wasaren League regular season title for Hoosic Valley, the first in school history. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

SCHAGHTICOKE — Call the Hoosic Valley High School girls soccer team crazy for running and screaming off the field following Monday’s 1-1 double overtime tie against Cambridge, but they had their reason.

The team had just clinched the first-ever Wasaren League regular season title in school history.

Senior striker Mollie Gilchrist scored a goal with under two minutes to play in the first half and freshman goalkeeper Sam Carlo made 10 saves - including three in overtime – as Hoosic Valley was able to remain one win ahead in the Wasaren standings.

What made Hoosic Valley’s dream season even sweeter was that not only were the Indians not expected to be one of the top contenders in the Wasaren League, the players didn’t dare dream that big when the season opened.

“I don’t think we expected us to be in the running until we kind of got into our season and said, ‘Hey, we can do this,” Gilchrist said. “We can pull this off. After our Hoosick Falls win (Thursday), which was huge, I think we all wanted to make school history.”

Hoosic Valley's Mollie Gilchrist looks to advance the ball as Cambridge's Sandra Andrew chases during Monday's game in Schaghticoke.

Hoosic Valley, (11-2-1, 13-2-1), the No. 17 ranked Class B in New York State, will likely be one of the top seeds in the Section II Class B tournament. Wednesday, the Indians will host an opening round playoff game against an opponent to be announced today when the Section II brackets are released.

“It’s really exciting and crazy,” Carlo said. “I can’t believe we did it. Oh my gosh. We worked so hard all season and I’m so glad we did it.”

Mechanicville, Maple Hill and Hoosick Falls are the other Section II teams ranked in the latest New York State Class B poll.

Allie Robert, a junior midfielder for Hoosic Valley, battles for control of the ball with Cambridge's Bridget Cuddihy during Monday's game.

Gilchrist suffered a scare before the game even began. She backed onto a soccer ball passed by one of her teammates in pregame warm-ups and said she “heard a pop.”

“I wasn’t quite 100%, but it worked itself out as the game went on,” she said. “I pushed through it.”

With under two minutes to play in the first half, Gilchrist corralled a ball that bounced off a Cambridge defender and blasted a left-footed shot toward the net. It hit the crossbar and bounced straight down, over the goal line and out of the grasp of Cambridge keeper Cheyanne Hall, who made 17 saves in the game.

“It was funny because they do a really nice job. The Cambridge defense was containing me all game,”
Gilchrist, at left, said. “All they do is keep their space so I can’t make a move to get around them and they just allowed me a little bit of space and I was able to chip a shot in and got a lucky bounce down, I guess.”

Cambridge (10-2-2, 11-3-2), the No. 16 Class C team in New York, received an equalizing goal from Kelsey Lawlor with 3:01 remaining in regulation.

As darkness descended on Indians Field, the teams battled in a pair of 10-minute overtime periods. Cambridge’s best chance came when it hit the post with 3:10 remaining in the first overtime. Hoosic Valley’s Allie Robert blasted a direct kick from 30 yards out with less than one minute to play in the second period, but the Indians couldn’t convert.

Hoosic Valley head coach Joel Beecroft, a former goalkeeper on the boys teams at Hoosic Valley, won his first Wasaren League regular season title as a coach Monday evening.

Still, the tie was good enough for an outright league championship.

“I don’t think anyone was expecting it,” said Carlo, at right, who played on the modified team as an eighth-grader last season. “We kind of just came out and showed everybody what we had and surprised everybody. So, that was really cool. It’s very exciting.”

“They’ve got such a mentality for winning,” said head coach Joel Beecroft. “They’ve had success in the basketball program and success in the softball program. And you know what? It’s our turn.”

Cambridge (10-2-2, 11-3-2) 0 1 0 0 — 1
Hoosic Valley (11-2-1, 13-2-1) 1 0 0 0 — 1
Scoring: C: Kelsey Lawlor 1-0. HV: Mollie Gilchrist 1-0.
Goalie saves: C: Cheyanne Hall, 17. HV: Sam Carlo, 10.
Corner kicks: C: 12. HV: 10.

  • Notes: Hoosic Valley peppered Cambridge with a bunch of scoring chances right from the opening whistle. HV hit the crossbar two minutes into the game. A long shot off the left foot of Gilchrist nearly, slowly, rolled into the far corner of the Cambridge net 10 minutes into the half, but was scooped by by Cambridge keeper Cheyanne Hall. 
  • Five minutes after that, Cambridge's Bridget Cuddihy nearly scored off a corner kick.
  • I've never seen so many corner kicks in a soccer game before. Cambridge had 12 and Hoosic Valley took 10, all of which came in regulation.
  • Gilchrist, who not only suffered a pregame scare, took a soccer ball straight to the face off an intended pass by Cambridge's Sandra Andrew midway through the second half.
  • Sam Carlo took a big risk with 17 minutes to play, running way out of the box to make a sliding save attempt on Cambridge's Sara Tironi.
  • Quotes from the notebook: "It helps. It’s going to definitely make us better and I think we’re going to learn a lot from this game," Carlo said on the tough games Hoosic Valley played right before sectionals.
  • "Last year, we had a good game against Maple Hill where we almost got it done," Gilchrist said. "It was looking good, but we’ve never really been successful in sectionals. I think we’re all looking forward to it."
  • "I told them, you just watch, pay attention and learn. When you do something like this, it’s a great experience for them," head coach Joel Beecroft said of all the junior varsity players called up for the Indians' postseason run.
  • "There is no drama on this team. They’re all friends," Beecroft said. "They’ve all played together since they were kids. They joke around, they kid around. It’s nice to have a team like that. You roll the balls out there, say 'OK, this is what we’re going to do' and they do it. And they have a great leader in Mollie. Janelle, she gives you everything she’s got. She’s outstanding there on the right wing."
Hoosic Valley senior forward Janelle Stannard races for the ball with Cambridge's Ellen Villafuerte during Monday's game.

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