Sweeney scores 5, Johnstown girls’ lacrosse rallies past Schenectady/Mohonasen

Johnstown’s Molly Sweeney (3) shoots at the Schenectady/Mohonasen goal during Monday’s non-league girls lacrosse match at Knox Field in Johnstown. (James A. Ellis)

Johnstown’s Molly Sweeney (3) shoots at the Schenectady/Mohonasen goal during Monday’s non-league girls lacrosse match at Knox Field in Johnstown. (James A. Ellis)

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JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Lady Bills gave their fans a reason to cheer in their final home game of the season.

Powered by senior Molly Sweeney’s five-goal performance, Johnstown erased an early three-goal deficit to defeat Schenectady/Mohonasen 11-8 in non-league girls’ lacrosse action Monday at Knox Field.

“We had no idea what this team was like coming into the game,” Sweeney said. “We just went into the game with the mentality of going out, try our hardest and see how the first few minutes go and maybe adjust from there. But we definitely were shocked in the first two minutes when they came out and got the quick goals.

“We shook it off and rethought some of our plays. Going into the second half, we knew we could win this game, just knowing the players that we are. We held the ball, played smartly and played together.”

Schenectady/Mohonasen opened the game on the attack with Austin Summers scoring a free position goal 30 seconds into the match. Marina Tchako-Tiako followed with a wraparound shot for the second goal before Summers scored for the second time to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead with 21:02 left in the opening half.

The Lady Bills began stringing combinations together only to be denied by Warriors’ goalkeeper Alana Butler, who came up with big saves on close-range shots.

Johnstown broke through for its first goal of the match with Jena Barker finding the back of the net with 19:23 left in the half.

Tiako answered for Schenectady/Mohonasen before Amia Hall and Sweeney put scores on the board to cut the Warriors lead to 4-3.

Tiako and Tara Hoose put up three unanswered goals for the Warriors to stretch their advantage to 7-3 before Caroline Krempa and Sweeney delivered goals to close out the opening half with Schenectady/Mohonasen holding a 7-5 lead.

“It is always a cause for concern when a team scores early, but you try to keep the girls in it with some hype,” Johnstown coach Tommy Horning said.

“The girls pulled themselves out of it. There wasn’t much to be changed, just the attitude of going back into the game. We talked to the girls at halftime and told the girls just to play their game and be a little more aggressive. They went out, performed, ran the plays and did what they were supposed to.”

The Lady Bills opened the second half with five unanswered goals to build a 10-7 lead.

Barker opened the scoring less than two minutes into the half with her second goal of the match before Sweeney delivered the equalizer and the go-ahead goal with 11:05 left in the match.

Nicole Simon pushed the Lady Bills’ lead to 9-7 before Barker connected for her third goal of the night for a 10-7 lead with 4:22 left to play.

Tchako-Tiako scored the Warriors’ lone goal of the second half with two minutes remaining before Sweeney closed out the scoring with her fifth goal of the match for the victory.

Sweeney finished with five goals and two assists, while Barker had three goals and an assist and Hall, Simon and Krempa had one goal apiece. Nicole Wendolski came up with eight saves in goal for the Lady Bills.

“Both offense and defense played well this game,” Sweeney said. “Our offense was really like, ‘Let’s get the ball, get up, take some time off the clock and be smart about it.’ ”

Tchako-Tiako finished with four goals and two assists for Schenectady/Mohonasen, while Hoose and Summers added two goals apiece.

Schenectady/Mohonasen 7  1 —  8
Johnstown  5  6 — 11
Schenectady/Mohonasen scoring: Tchaki-Tiako 4-2, Summers 2-0, Hoose 2-1. Johnstown scoring: Sweeney 5-0, Barker 3-1, Hall1-0, Simon 1-0, Krempa 1-0, Ganzahrina 0-1. Goalie saves: Schenectady/Mohonasen: Butler 15; Johnstown: Wendolski 8.

By Andrew Pugliese

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