Lady Rams rally past Lady Dragons

GLOVERSVILLE -Caroline Bakyta scored for Gloversville in the opening minute of Monday’s non-league girls soccer match, and for the next 76 minutes, the Lady Dragons’ defense took everything Amsterdam could throw at them.

The Lady Rams’ pressure paid off when Diana Constantine finished off a pass from Monica Rouse with 2:35 remaining to send the match into overtime.

Amsterdam tacked on two more goals in extra time to close out its regular season play with a 3-1 non-league victory.

“You couldn’t have asked for a better start,” Gloversville coach Mike Hallenbeck said. “Caroline just hit a rocket into the side net from 35 yards out. It was a beautiful goal. It surprised everyone. I thought the first half was pretty evenly played, but they controlled the second half. Hats off to them – they played better in the second half and both overtimes.”

When the two teams met on Oct. 6, the game went scoreless until Constantine hit the game-winner with 26 seconds left in regulation.

Bakyta got the Lady Dragons off to a quick start, connecting on a long pass from Chanel Thomas from the right side that sailed over Amsterdam goalkeeper Cassandra Robataille’s head and into the far-side netting with 39 seconds off the clock for a 1-0 Lady Dragons advantage.

The Lady Rams went to work trying to get the equalizer, but the Gloversville midfield and defense filled the passing lanes and were aggressive going to the 50/50 balls.

“Soccer is a physical sport,” Amsterdam coach Deanna Alex said. “It is what it is. It goes both ways. My girls did it and took it as well.”

The Lady Rams had a solid chance thwarted with 26:20 left in the opening half. Kaitlyn Burkhart struck a solid shot on net that hit the cross bar and bounced up in the air before Gloversville goalkeeper Emily Washburn was able to grab it for the save.

Moments later, Robataille charged off her line to cut down a counter-attack by the Lady Dragons that put Thomas in a one-on-one situation and send the game into intermission with Gloversville holding on to a 1-0 advantage.

The Lady Rams picked up their intensity in the opening minutes of the second half, putting Gloversville in a defensive posture with the majority of play in the Lady Dragons’ defensive third of the field.

The Gloversville defense kept the ball out of the net and began working the ball back up field, creating opportunities including breakaways by Mykayla Akey-Clarke and Bakyta that narrowly missed their marks.

With time running down, the Lady Rams put together a strong surge forward, and this time it paid off as Constantine drove a solid shot off a pass from Rouse into the side netting to tie the match at one with 2:35 left in regulation.

“That goal in the first 30 seconds was like payback for our goal in the last 30 seconds the last time we played them,” Alex said. “We had to get it back. Diana was the girl that scored in that game and she was the one who scored with 2:35 left in this game. So we just went from there, the momentum was going forward.”

Amsterdam got what proved to be the game-winner 3:07 into the first of two 10-minute overtime periods.

Rouse hit a 20-yard direct kick on net that hit the crossbar and bounced behind Washburn and over the line before she could control the ball to give the Lady Rams a 2-1 edge.

Amsterdam extended its lead to 3-1 in the second overtime period when Rouse sent a corner kick from the right side into a crowd in front of the goal that ended up in the back of the net to put the final score at 3-1.

For the match, Amsterdam outshot Gloversville 17-7 and held a 5-1 edge in corner kicks.

Robataille collected five saves in net for Amsterdam, while Washburn had 12.

“The defense did a good job especially with Allison [Hanmer] out,” Hallenbeck said. “She is one of our better defenders. Emily [Gifford], Ashley [Young] and Natasha [Simon] stepped up and we held them for 78 minutes. It was like deja vu. Up there, we held them and lost with 26 seconds left.”

Both teams qualified for the the Section II postseason tournament and will find out their opening-round opponents today.

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