Saratoga seniors on target in win
Turner, DiBlasi score on their senior night to beat Columbia
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.”
Saratoga’s Autumn Soukup works the ball up the field against Columbia’s Maddie Gibney during Saratoga’s 2-1 win.
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.