Thursday, October 14, 2010

Slip & slide: Mechanicville girls soccer tops 'Burgh, 4-1

Lansingburgh's Rachael McDonough leaps over Mechanicville's Danelle Haner to head the ball during Thursday's Colonial Council girls soccer game at Lansingburgh. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

TROY — A handicapper would have graded the Lansingburgh High School soccer field as ‘sloppy’, but that didn’t stop Mechanicville’s speedy forwards from galloping around the Lady Knights’ defense Thursday night.

Alysa Russell scored a pair of goals in the second half and Abby Maiello and Marissa Skaczkowski added single tallies for the Red Raiders in a 4-1 Colonial Council victory played under a steady drizzle at Lansingburgh High School.

"It just makes the atmosphere so much better," Russell said of the rain. "It’s just so much more intense because you never know. You have to be ready at all times."

“You have to recognize that they have a lot of heart and a lot of determination and when you put that with the speed they have up front, it’s hard to deal with,” said Lansingburgh head coach John Cipperly.

Mechanicville (11-1-0, 11-1-0), ranked No. 2 in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association Class B poll got on the board 3:20 into the game when Maiello broke toward the Lansingburgh net and was chased by Julia Retell. Both players fell to the ground in front of the left post and Mechanicville was awarded a penalty kick.

Skaczkowski blasted the penalty kick past Lansingburgh keeper Calli Moise to put the Red Raiders on the board.

Although Lansingburgh (7-4-0, 7-4-0) buckled down defensively for the rest of the first half, Russell, a junior, scored on an assist from Maiello, also a junior, just over five minutes into the second half to give Mechanicville another quick strike goal.

Mechanicville's Abby Maiello, right, and head coach Karl Gerstenberger, left, took a minute to meet the press after Thursday's game.

"It’s not just another game because they’re a good team," Maiello said of Lansingburgh. "They have good athletes throughout the school and they can come out here and play. They have their good defense and they’re good offensively and they can move the ball in the midfield. It’s a good game. We get pumped up when we come here, especially because it’s always under the lights."

Lansingburgh’s Jenna Retell pulled the Lady Knights back within one six minutes after that, but that was as close as the team would get. Having played a tough makeup game against Voorheesville on Wednesday (a 2-0 victory for Lansingburgh), the Lady Knights just didn’t have enough energy left for a second half comeback.

Russell and Maiello wove their way around the Lansingburgh defenders at will late in the game, even on the wet turf, creating chance after chance on net.

Lansingburgh's Katie Palermo tangles with Mechanicville's Amber Maiello for control of the ball during Thursday's Colonial Council girls soccer game at Lansingburgh.

“We didn’t get the benefit of any fresh legs for tonight,” Cipperly said. “But for that, I give my kids a lot of credit for coming and playing their hearts out anyway despite the fact that they didn’t have anything in the tank.”

Moise, a junior captain, made 13 tough saves for Lansingburgh. Mechanicville’s Kelsey Desadore stopped eight shots.

Both teams are chasing Schalmont (12-0-0, 12-0-0), ranked No. 6 in the latest Class A poll, in the Colonial Council standings.

Mechanicville, which appeared in the New York State Class B championship game a season ago and took Briarcliff to four overtimes before losing 4-3, also has big dreams for the 2010 season.

“We lost a bunch of starters and everything,” said Russell, pictured above. “But this team, it’s unbelievable how well we’ve been able to find what we needed to find. We replaced it as best as we can. We’re working just as well together as we did last year. It’s just awesome.”

Not only do Russell and Maiello excel on the pitch, but they do so on the basketball court and the softball diamond as well. They have had extensive postseason success in other sports as well, but where do they find the time and the passion to be so competitive year-round?

“We come as a package and we just work hard and we practice,” Maiello said. “Every sport will help another sport.

“Even when you don’t think basketball could help soccer and soccer couldn’t help basketball and softball couldn’t help basketball, they all help each other working on different skills and building different muscles. We just work hard at all three.”

“It’s amazing what these guys do,” said Mechanicville head coach Karl Gerstenberger. “It really is amazing. Every sport they excel at. I’m amazed by it. They’re winners, they really are.”

"They have some kids that know how to win and they do it in more than one sport," said Cipperly, who also coachces the varsity softball team at Lansingburgh. "They know how. They make it a priority and they do whatever they have to to make it their result." 

Mechanicville's Mikayla Gowett tries to stop on a dime and control the ball as Lansingburgh's Rachael McDonough breathes down her neck during Thursday's game under the lights at Lansingburgh.

Mechanicville (11-1-0, 11-1-0) 1 3 -- 4
Lansingburgh (7-4-0, 7-4-0) 0 1 -- 1
Scoring: M: Russell 2-0, Maiello 1-1, Skaczkowski 1-0. L: Retell 1-0.
Goalie saves: M: Desadore, 8. L: Moise, 13.
Corner kicks: M: 1. L: 1.

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