CLINTONVILLE - The Patriots kept their playoff hopes alive with a win over Saranac in the Section VII Class B girls soccer quarterfinals Nov. 2.
Sidney Flint's goal midway through the second half proved to be the game-winner in a highly defensive and tightly contested match.
"I think it gives our team confidence heading into Wednesday," said Patriots head coach Keith Raines, noting how flu symptoms had kept many players out of practice in the week leading up to the game.
The Patriots outshot Saranac 4-2 in the first half as both teams struggled to develop scoring opportunities. Shiloh Bourgeois and Michelle Taylor helped lead an ironclad defensive effort for AuSable Valley.
"They did a great job containing their two forwards," said Raines.
Saranac battled the Patriots in the middle of the field, getting solid efforts from Molly and Jackie Bowen.
"They had a couple of good chances in the first half, but so did we," said Raines. "The second half, I think we controlled play a little bit better, and we capitalized on our chances."
AuSable Valley finally broke through near the 19-minute mark when Johanna Recny sent a pass to the front of the goal box for Flint. Chiefs goalie Kaitlyn Wood came out for the save and collided with Flint, who was able to push the ball through for the score.
"It was a 50-50 play," said Raines. "Either one could have gotten it. Unfortunately, they both came out on the wrong end and got injured."
The Patriots' defense continued to hold off Saranac through the final minutes, though two potentially tying shots by Megan Bowman floated just high of the crossbar.
AuSable Valley goalie Jena Finnegan collected four saves for the shutout while Wood and backup goalie Stephanie Linder combined for seven Saranac saves.