Saratoga se­niors on tar­get in win

Turner, DiBlasi score on their se­nior night to beat Columbia

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Nick Top­ping ntopping@digitalfirstmedia.com @nj­top­ping13 on Twit­ter

On a night that hon­ored the se­niors, Saratoga Springs girls soc­cer man­aged to take a hard-fought 2-1 vic­tory over Columbia Tues­day un­der the lights at Saratoga Springs High School.

Goalie Lexi Bakkala­pulo, Bri­anna DiBlasi, Bri­anna Dun­gate, Makayla Booth, Mor­gan Siewart, Tess Turner and Emily Turner made up the Blue Streaks’ se­nior class.

Emily Turner and DiBlasi brought the hosts the win with a goal apiece.

Turner said she has been work­ing all six years in the Saratoga sys­tem to have the chance at this mo­ment.

“I have been play­ing in the pro­gram for six years,” Emily Turner said. “I have al­ways wanted to get the win on my se­nior night. It was nice com­ing out here after a good last game on Thursday, com­ing out here and win­ning and show­ing who Saratoga is going into sec­tion­als.”

Saratoga coach Adrienne Dan­nehy said this was an im­por­tant game for her team to win.

“This was a big game for us and we have been work­ing hard for this,” Dan­nehy said. “We worked a lot on tak­ing the ball down, cross­ing it, tak­ing the ball to weak side, the other side and I think we were there all night, we just had to fin­ish. They fin­ished two re­ally nice goals tonight and I am re­ally su­per proud of them. This was a big game for us. We needed to come out, we needed to make a state­ment, after the game we played on Thursday against Shen, that we are going to keep on going. We are just to go up and up and up and we are here to play.”

Saratoga started strong, get­ting nine shots on goal that were saved

be­fore break­ing through on the tenth. Leah Radovic crossed the ball and DiBlasi was there to hit it to the far left cor­ner to put Saratoga ahead with 13:33 re­main­ing in the first half.

The visitors re­sponded al­most im­me­di­ately on their first shot of the game.

Shayna Len­ney drib­bled past the de­fense and shot it past Bakkala­pulo to tie the game at 1-1 with 8:22 re­main­ing.

The Blue Streaks re­sponded back with 4:58 re­main­ing, how­ever. Emily Turner man­aged to beat the keeper from the left side for a 2-1 lead head­ing into half­time.

“We have been hav­ing a lot of passes to the weak side, so be­fore I went coach said ‘go weak side it is com­ing,’” Emily Turner said. “Ju­lia (DiMenna) crossed it and Abby (Ray) got a touch on it and I saw the far side, just like we prac­ticed, so I stayed com­posed and passed it right to the far side and it went in.”

The Blue Streaks con­trolled the ball for most of the sec­ond half but couldn’t find an in­sur­ance goal. The clos­est they came was when Radovic’s shot beat the keeper, but a Blue Dev­ils de­fender man­aged to kick the ball out to keep it at 2-1.

Dan­nehy said that hav­ing two of her se­niors score the goals in this game was a thrill.

“These se­niors have been ab­so­lutely un­be­liev­able this en­tire year,” Dan­nehy said. “All of them have been lead­ers on the field and off the field. They are all great friends; they are ever great friends with all the younger girls. This is such a tight-knit group of girls and the se­niors are the rea­son for that and to see them come out and punch two goals in was so good. I am re­ally proud of them.”

Saratoga out­shot Columbia 15-1 in the first half and 10-2 in the sec­ond half to dom­i­nate the play, if not the score­board.

Dan­nehy said it is some­thing they need to im­prove upon if they want to play deep into sec­tion­als.

“We need to fin­ish goals,” Dan­nehy said. “We need to fin­ish great crosses. Ju­lia should have had I don’t even know how many as­sists tonight. We need to work on that. We have been work­ing on that all sea­son, fin­ish­ing the ball. I do think ev­ery game we are get­ting bet­ter and that has been the whole motto of our sea­son, do some­thing bet­ter each and ev­ery game. What we work on prac­tice, we do it in the game and then we move on to the next thing and keep on work­ing. We al­ways said the en­tire sea­son that we were going to get bet­ter and bet­ter ev­ery game and then we were going to peak at sec­tion­als. That is right around the cor­ner.”

Saratoga is 9-3-2 this sea­son and has one more test in Beth­le­hem on Thursday be­fore sec­tion­als start.

“Ever since the start of the sea­son we have been climb­ing up and work­ing to keep get­ting bet­ter,” Emily Turner said. “One last game on Thursday, hope­fully we come out tough, win, get a good seed­ing in sec­tion­als and hope­fully win in sec­tion­als. It is im­por­tant to come out strong now and show them who Saratoga is.”

BY NICK TOP­PING- NTOPPING@DIGITALFIRSTMEDIA.COM

Saratoga’s Au­tumn Soukup works the ball up the field against Columbia’s Mad­die Gib­ney dur­ing Saratoga’s 2-1 win.

BY NICK TOP­PING- NTOPPING@DIGITALFIRSTMEDIA.COM

Saratoga coach Adrienne Dan­nehy talks to her team at half­time dur­ing their 2-1 win over Columbia Tues­day. Saratoga is 9-3-2 this sea­son and has one more game against Beth­le­hem on Thursday be­fore Sec­tion­als be­gin.

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