Champlain While moving up in class, the AuSable Valley Lady Patriots were out to prove their goal still was to repeat as a sectional champion.
The defending Class C champions started their Class B run with a 2-0 win against Northeastern Clinton Oct. 23. After a scoreless first half, Taylor Saltus sent a pair of crosses into the box in the 37th and 55th minutes, finding the feet of Rachel Knapp and Hillary Drake, respectively.
“Rachel is the sparkplug that can get things going for us,” Patriots head coach Bruce Bourgeois said. “She was hurt at the end of the first half but came back in to start the second and worked hard to get that first goal.”
Knapp collected the cross from Saltus and put a shot on the Cougars net which was saved by Christina Paola. Knapp then followed the rebound, connecting on a low angle shot from the right post.
Drake scored when the cross by Saltus was deflected by Paola to her foot for an easy conversion.
“We knew that we were running them hard and they were getting tired,” Bourgeois said. “Their fullbacks were getting tired. We just had to be patient and it paid off.”
The Cougars outshot the Patriots, 15-12, while each team had three corner kicks. Bryce Douglass earned the sectional shutout win in net for the Patriots with 10 saves in the game.
“I think that as a unit, we have the very best defense in the North Country,” Bourgeois said. “Bryce stepped up today and she felt good before the game and was ready.”
With the quarterfinal win, the Patriots will face top seed Saranac in the semifinal round of the Class B playoffs Saturday, Oct. 26, set for 5 p.m. in Chazy.
“Saranac is going to be a lot tougher,” Bourgeois said. “It will be a totally different game and we are going to have to put the focus very much on our defense.”