SARANAC LAKE - New players who moved up from junior varsity took on key roles for the Saranac Lake girls soccer team Thursday in a 3-2 overtime victory over AuSable Valley at Schroeter's Field.
Freshman Bridget Sullivan and junior Jenny Ward scored first-half goals for the Red Storm and sophomore Katey Snyder netted the game-winner with 30 seconds remaining in the first sudden-death period.
In addition to getting some new punch on offense, Saranac Lake also benefitted from the addition of freshman Matty Fischer, who was a force along the back line at stopper.
Jenny Ward boots the ball past a diving AuSable Valley keeper Bryce Douglass to score Saranac Lake’s second goal during the opening half of Thursday’s match at Schroeter’s Field in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
With the win, Saranac Lake improved to 2-7-1 in Northern Soccer League Division I action.
"I don't really think our record is representative of how this team has played," said Saranac Lake head coach Amanda Zullo. "We've been close in every game, and it feels good to break through with a win.
"Good passing has been a goal of ours all season, and we're getting aggressive in front of the net," Zullo added. "Our girls played hard and did a nice job executing passing. AuSable is a physical team. I was pleased to see our girls continually stepping up to win balls."
The Red Storm opened the scoring when Sullivan found the back of the net in her first varsity game at the 14:36 mark. On the play, Sullivan took a crossing pass from Ward and placed a low shot past AuSable Valley goalkeeper Bryce Douglass through traffic. Deanna Dashnaw answered for the Patriots, scoring less than three minutes later off an assist from Maddy Rondeau to tie the contest at 1-1.
After assisting on Saranac Lake's first tally, Ward found herself all alone in front of the AuSable net, beat Douglass to the ball and fired a shot home at the 20:45 mark to give Saranac Lake back its one-goal advantage. Megan Moody, a senior, earned an assist on the play.
Rondeau netted the only goal of the second half, scoring for the Patriots with 15 minutes remaining in regulation to deadlock the game and ultimately force overtime. Snyder's game-winner with 9:30 gone in the first extra session was unassisted.
AuSable Valley held a 20-15 edge in shots over Saranac Lake. Senior Regan Kieffer earned the win in net with 15 saves. Douglass made four saves in goal for the Patriots.
The Patriots fell to 1-8 in Division I play and 2-8 overall with the loss.
Zullo said she was especially pleased with how her team defended the Patriots, who put plenty of pressure on the Red Storm but were limited on their scoring chances. Zullo said defenders Marisa McDonough, Sydney Battistoni, Vanessa Salamy, Moody and Kieffer all had strong performances in the match.
Saranac Lake 3, AuSable Valley 2, OT
1. SL, Sullivan (Ward), 14:36; 2. AV, Dashnaw (Rondeau), 17:15; 3. SL, Ward (Moody), 20:45.
4. AV, Rondeau (Snow), 25:00.
5. SL, Snyder, 9:30
Shots: AuSable Valley 20, Saranac Lake 15.
Saves: AV, Douglass 4; SL, Kieffer 15.