Amsterdam forward Lucia Liverio, left, races past Johnstown defender Bailey King during Tuesday’s match at Lynch Literacy Academy. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
After nearly 50 minutes of back-and-forth soccer, an unlikely bounce and a bizarre goal proved to be the beginning of the end for the Amsterdam girls against the Johnstown Lady Bills Tuesday night at Lynch Literacy Academy.
The teams had been playing a mostly even scoreless game until, with just inside of 31 minutes to play in regulation, Johnstown’s Jenna Thompson sent a low, bouncing cross from near the goal line on the right wing. Amsterdam goalkeeper Jareymarie Aponte, who turned in a brilliant 18-save performance on the night, thought she saw the ball roll over the out-of-bounds line and didn’t scoop the ball up, but no whistle blew and the ball kept rolling, eventually skipping all the way into the net for one of the stranger goals of the season.
Four minutes later, Johnstown added a second when Madison Delgado tapped home the rebound of an Abby Gottung shot, and the Lady Rams couldn’t muster any scoring of their own in a 2-0 loss.
“Jarey said the ball hit the line, so she stopped moving, but it kept rolling and the ref let it go,” Amsterdam coach Jessica Byerwalters said. “(The referees) were also playing the football lines and not the soccer lines, so that’s a misjudgment that never should have gone the way it did.”
The loss denied Amsterdam (3-2, 2-2 Foothills Council) a chance at a third straight win. The Lady Rams had plenty of possession and got the ball down the wings for the likes of Lucia Liverio, Emma Patrei, Emma Gomez and Jael Irizarry to send in crosses, but couldn’t connect on anything once the ball got into the box.
“We had the crosses, we had the runs, we had the dribbling, we had the ball skills. It was just the finishing,” Byerwalters said. “We couldn’t turn our hips enough, and it wasn’t there.”
Johnstown had several promising opportunities in the first half, including as Carolyn Fitzpatrick rocket that smashed off the crossbar. The Lady Bills put on plenty of counterattacking pressure in the second half, with the speedy Gottung giving Amsterdam fits on the wing throughout the night.
Forty-five seconds before Thompson’s opening goal, Gottung nearly gave Johnstown the lead on a breakaway, only for Aponte to aggressively challenge and make a sprawling save. On an identical play four minutes after Thompson’s goal, Gottung got loose down the wing and smashed a hard shot that Aponte punched away, only for the ball to fall directly in the path of a charging Delgado, who knocked it home.
It was a hard-luck result for the Lady Rams and their goalkeeper, whom Byerwalters praised for the major strides she’s made as a relative newcomer to the position.
“Jarey has taken an unbelievable turn in the last (five) games,” Byerwalters said. “She’s gone from someone who started in goal three weeks ago to someone who looks like she’s been training for goalie for years.“
The Lady Rams will be back in action Thursday when they go on the road to face Hudson Falls at 4:30 p.m.
Gloversville 6, Broadalbin-Perth 0
Taylor Mee, Harmony Philo, Angel Anderson, Sydney Loux and Kerri Hauser scored a goal apiece in the Lady Dragons’ win over B-P.
Alex Benfatti made seven saves to record the shutout for Gloversville. B-P keeper Morgan Rossi was credited with 14 saves.