Amsterdam’s Jael Irizarry (4) dribbles past Broadalbin-Perth’s Mary Zarecki (21) during a Foothills Council girls soccer game Friday at Lynch Literacy Academy. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
It’s not the easiest nor the most efficient strategy for victory, neither is it particularly calming for head coach Jessica Byerwalters’ nerves, but the Amsterdam High School girls soccer team has seemingly mastered the art of overtime.
Friday night’s 2-1 win over Broadalbin-Perth at Lynch Literacy Academy was the Lady Rams’ sixth victory of the season. Five of them — two against B-P, two against Fonda-Fultonville and one against Hudson Falls — have needed an extra 20 minutes to procure.
“We do not want to go to overtime, but we’re 5-0 in overtime,” Byerwalters said. “Apparently, we’re an overtime time. I don’t know what it is. They like to play soccer for three hours, instead of an hour and a half. We came out with the win, and I’m gonna live with the win right now.”
Friday, Amsterdam (6-3, 4-3 Foothills Council) took a 1-0 lead on Haley Madej’s goal with 14 minutes left in the first half, only to give it up when B-P’s Mya Tyler scored just before the midway point of the second half.
With 4:37 left in the first 10-minute overtime, Amsterdam’s late-game magic worked again as Lucia Liverio played a pinpoint corner kick to an unmarked Toni May, who flicked a perfect header into the net. The Lady Rams’ defense held firm for the final 14-plus minutes, and Amsterdam had yet another 100-minute win.
“Toni, Lucia, Emma (Patrei), Haley, they work really well together on the corners,” Byerwalters said. “Thank god Toni connected with Lucia on that corner.”
It was a tough result for a B-P team that’s taken Amsterdam to overtime twice this season, only to come out on the wrong end in extra time on both occasions.
“It’s tough, but it’s fun for the girls, two local teams fighting into overtime,” B-P coach Rob Klug said.
Amsterdam controlled the first half and struck first on a nice bit of combination in the 27th minute. Liverio’s throw in was right in the path of a charging Emma Patrei, who surged down the right wing and drove in a low cross that Madej ran onto and belted into the net.
In the second half, the field tilted in B-P’s favor, with the Lady Patriots dominating possession. Amsterdam goalkeeper Jarey Aponte had to come up with a diving save to deny Mary Zarecki just 75 seconds into the second half, but Aponte wasn’t so lucky 15 minutes later when she tried to corral a bouncing ball in the box, only for it to pop free in the scrum and allow Tyler to step in and knock the ball into the empty net.
“We had some chances and capitalized on one. They had some chances,” Klug said. “It was kind of a back-and-forth game.”
The remainder of the second half was largely played in the midfield, with both teams struggling to maintain possession.
“We could not possess the ball,” Byerwalters said. “We were kicking it back and forth. It was almost like we were having a contest to see who could kick the ball the furthest. It made it really hard on us. It was like we were running around for no reason.”
“We put a lot of pressure on our defense,” she added. “Luckily, I know they can hold it down.”
Finally, May headed in Liverio’s corner kick in overtime to give the Lady Rams yet another overtime win.
Both teams will hit the road for Foothills Council crossover games Tuesday, with Amsterdam visiting Queensbury and B-P making the trip to Hudson Falls.