Taylor Saltus scored two goals in the Lady Patriots 3-0 win against Northern Adirondack Nov. 1 to earn the Section VII/Class C title.
Going into halftime, the AuSable Valley Lady Patriots knew they were off.
They had controlled the tempo of the game throughout the first 40 minutes of the Section VII/Class C girls title game Nov. 1 against Northern Adirondack, but were locked in a tight, 0-0 contest.
The Lady Pats figured it out during the intermission, scoring three times in the final 40 minutes while holding a 15-4 overall shot advantage and forcing 14 corner kicks compared to one for the Lady Bobcats in earning the 3-0 win.
“Coach talked about us working harder and working together as a team,” Meghan Strong, who scored the first goal of the game in the 54th minute, said.
“We were not really connecting in the first half,” captain Rachel Knapp said. “We had good chances, but we were just not able to finish. We knew how important this game was and that we needed it to click in the second half.”
“We really didn’t do what we wanted to in the first half,” head coach Bruce Bourgeois said. “We knew that NAC was going to come out and hustle, but we knew too if we could get the ball deep, then we would pin them back on defense.”
That was exactly what happened to start the second half, as the Patriots controlled play for the first 14 minutes. In the 54th minute, Knapp hit her second consecutive corner kick on an offensive attack for the Pats, arcing the ball high in front of the Bobcats net.
“All I was looking for was a head to come up and strike it,” Knapp said.
That head was Strong’s.
“It was a beautiful ball and I tried my best to get it right on goal,” Strong said. “It was a very important goal. That is what got our spirit up knowing that we could score.”
“She is one of the tiny ones, but she gets some air,” Knapp said about Strong. “It was a great goal because after that, we got the momentum going.”
Ten minutes later, Strong was on the giving end, gaining possession of the ball and putting a cross in on the NAC net, finding the head of Taylor Saltus.
“It was great to see her head come up and hit the ball,” Strong said.
“I was just trying to get a good head on the ball,” Saltus said.
Bourgeois was very impressed by the pair of goals.
“We have not had two head-ball goals all season,” he said. “They were beautiful goals. Oh, my God, they were beautiful goals.”
Saltus found her name in the scoring column again in the 75th minute, as Maddy Rondeau passes a ball toward goal that Saltus made a diving play on with her feet for the score.
The Patriots then played with a defensive set for the rest of the game, as the Bobcats recorded three of their four shots in the final five minutes.
“The defenders played awesome as usual,” Bourgeois said. “Bryce Douglass was great in goal. Sumra Sikandar, Logan Snow, Priscilla Coats, Sierra Snow and Tiffany Evans allow me to rotate and adapt to what we need to do on defense and they played a great game.”
Douglass finished with four saves, while Bobcat goalie Stephanie Snide recorded seven in the loss.
The Bobcats best scoring chance came in the first half when Magan Magee appeared to beat out Logan Snow for a breakaway opportunity. However, officials called that Magee tripped Snow, ending the threat.
The Patriots next play in Plattsburgh on Election Night, Nov. 6, facing either Tupper Lake or Canton in the regional semifinals.