JOHNSTOWN – With just 14 players on this year’s roster, the Johnstown girls’ soccer team has been focused on conditioning and injury prevention during the first week of practice.
“We don’t have that many girls and we’ve been trying to recruit,” Johnstown coach Erica Fitzpatrick said. “Our numbers are really low, so staying healthy and conditioning are going to be keys for us.”
The lack of numbers is something that is hampering teams throughout the area as several schools will go without junior varsity teams this fall due to a lack of participants.
“There are many schools in the same boat as us,” Fitzpatrick said. “Participation numbers are down everywhere. It’s tough to get kids involved and COVID certainly didn’t help the situation.”
Graduation also hit Johnstown hard as five players from last year’s team are gone.
The Lady Bills lost Maryann Austin, Roslyn Chapin, Kirsten Draper, Kallie Ahern and Bentley Lane to graduation and they also lost Jaidyn and Abby Chest, who moved to Mayfield. Both Abby and Jaidyn Chest, along with Chapin, were named Foothills Council honorable mention last season.
“Losing Jaidyn and Abby will certainly hurt us, but it just one of those things you can’t do anything about,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’re going to work hard to get better and improve. It’s going to be what it is.”
Last year, Johnstown went 6-10 overall and lost to Mechanicville in the first round of the Section II Class B Tournament.
Seniors Hailey Anderson, Olivia Kilmer and Julianna Morreale all returning from last year’s squad, along with juniors Anna Giarrizzo, Chelsea Johnson, Marlee Trajlinek and Jordyn Tarbox.
Sophomores Lindsay Sweet and Andrea Manners are return for the Lady Bills.
Rounding out the Johnstown roster are newcomers Katelyn Anderson, Natalie Williams, Chloe Frenyea and Ayla Naselli. Anderson and Williams are 10th-graders, while Frenyea and Naselli are ninth-graders.
“The group I have are workhorses,” said Fitzpatrick, who will be assisted by her husband, Chad, this season. “As long as they put in the effort in, I think we can do good things.”
Johnstown is slated to open its season at Hudson Falls on Sept. 2 at 4:30 p.m. The Lady Bills are set to host Schuylerville on Sept. 8 in their home opener at 4:30 p.m.