Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Maple Hill soccer shifts momentum against Hoosick Falls, 2-0

Maple Hill senior striker Meeghan Arno (20) threads the needle between Hoosick Falls' Alexis Hagadorn (20) and Liz Babson (12) during Wednesday's Section II Class B semifinal game at Stillwater High School. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

STILLWATER — For the first 20 minutes of Wednesday’s Section II Class B semifinal, the Hoosick Falls High School girls soccer team brought the pressure against No. 1 seeded Maple Hill.

The Panthers squeezed off a handful of shots on Wildcats keeper Elizabeth Briggs and Hoosick Falls senior Kristin Bird even hit the post on a shot attempt less than five minutes into the game.

Maple Hill’s Meeghan Arno, however, proved to be the finisher in a game of missed opportunities.

Arno, a senior striker, scored with 4:18 remaining in the first half on a high shot just out of the reach of Hoosick Falls keeper Katelyn Stowell. Arno scored again with 25:08 to play in the second half, which was all the Wildcats would need in a 2-0 victory over the No. 4 seeded Panthers at Warrior Park at Stillwater High School.

Maple Hill (19-0-0), ranked No. 12 in the latest New York State Class B poll, advanced to face No. 7 Chatham (15-2-0) in Saturday’s Section II championship game, which will be played at Stillwater at 3 p.m.

“I knew coming into the game I had to shoot a lot,” Arno said. “We had to put a lot of shots on the keeper.”

Arno’s first goal, which came just before the halftime break, certainly swung the momentum toward Maple Hill, seeing as Hoosick Falls had forced Briggs to make six of her eight saves in the first 40 minutes alone.

“We were crushing them in the first 20 minutes and if we score two, all of a sudden, the momentum, we’re going crazy,” said Hoosick Falls head coach Tom Husser on his team’s early chances. “It’s a whole different game. Girls soccer is a funny thing. Some days it’s not meant to be.”

In the second half, Arno took advantage of a Hoosick Falls misplay in the backfield and raced in on Stowell one-on-one. Arno patiently waited for Stowell to make her move before firing the ball at the net, which gave the Wildcats an insurmountable two-goal lead.

Hoosick Falls sophomore goalkeeper Katelyn Stowell leaps to make a save during Wednesday's Section II Class B semifinal game against Maple Hill.

“The momentum changed a lot, really,” Arno said. “We knew if they got one quick one in the first half, they would have had the momentum. Their forwards had us on our heels. We knew we had to come out strong and just make sure we could stay back, focus on defense and on marking those very good Hoosick Falls girls.”

One year ago, Maple Hill fell in heartbreaking fashion in double overtime to another Wasaren League team, Cambridge, in the Section II Class CC semifinals on the artificial turf surface at Stillwater.

“We didn’t want to make the same mistakes we did last year,” said Arno. “We worked hard in practice the two days we had off between games and just fixed the mistakes from last year and came out strong.”

Hoosick Falls (13-4-2), ranked No. 17 in the latest Class B poll, will graduate six seniors, but with a number of underclassmen with experience, Husser is already looking forward to 2011.

“We’re very young,” he said. “We lost five good starters, three of them were All-State, from last year’s team and they still expected to be bringing it every time. We’re young and the good thing is we’ll have a lot of those girls back next year.”

Maple Hill's Chelsea Mannion evades a Hoosick Falls defender during Wednesday's semifinal game at Stillwater High School.

Chatham defeated No. 6 Schuylerville in double overtime Wednesday evening. Jenelle Wallace scored with 3:05 remaining in the second overtime period for the upset victory.

In the quarterfinals, Chatham had knocked out No. 2 Mechanicville and Schuylerville topped No. 3 Hoosic Valley.

Maple Hill defeated Chatham twice in the Patroon Conference regular season by scores of 3-1 and 4-1.

“We know what they are, they know what we do and it’s going to be a very good game,” Arno said. “It’s good for them to make it this far. They had a strong team this year.”

Hoosick Falls' Deanna Dubois leaps as Maple Hill's Meeghan Arno leans into a header during Wednesday's Section II Class B semifinal playoff game at Stillwater.

Hoosick Falls (13-4-2) 0 0 –0
Maple Hill (19-0-0) 1 1 — 2
Scoring: MH: Arno 2-0, Legge 0-1.
Goalie saves: HF: Stowell, 8. MH: Briggs, 8.
Corner kicks: HF: 0. MH: 2.

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