Panthers top Granville, remain undefeated
Even with a two-goal lead, the Panthers just weren't executing at the level they wanted to offensively and their defense had a few lapses that ended up costing them a goal.
Just seconds after Granville forward Grace Hemcher cut the Hoosick lead in half, the Golden Horde called a timeout. This allowed the Panthers to regroup and for Hoosick Falls coach Denise Campbell to address the team's struggles.
"We were letting down and we weren't moving to the ball," said Campbell of the team's play before the timeout. "I think we were expecting our teammates to make the plays and we didn't and we got caught in transition and we paid the price with a goal. It was a little bit of wake-up call that we couldn't let down at any moment."
While Campbell rarely takes timeouts, the time of the stoppage by the Horde was perfect for the the Panthers to regroup and figure out where they went wrong.
"It was good to get that timeout because [Denise] always says, 'You've got to step it up, they're going to come out stronger than you guys,'" said Hoosick Falls captain Lillian Hickey. "We needed to be prepared and push as hard as we could. Every team, you can't expect anything less than a strong effort. We needed to come out stronger than them and not give up."
The Panthers responded in a big way after the timeout and Hickey was right in the middle of it. The senior star scored a goal within the next minute and tallied three more before games end to lead Hoosick Falls to the win.
Campbell was impressed with how her team responded to the adversity of the Granville goal.
"It was nice to see us respond without letting our heads hang or letting down," Campbell said.
Throughout most of the game, the Panthers were in complete control of possession. This allowed Hoosick Falls to test Golden Horde goalie Lexyss Zovistoski all day long. Zovistoski made 12 saves, while her Panther counterpart, Zoe Gress, was forced to make just two stops.
This massive possession advantage also allowed Hoosick Falls to get many more penalty corners than the Golden Horde. Granville mustered just one corner all game long, compared to 13 for the Panthers.
The Panthers scored their first two goals in the first half. The first one came from Emily Schnoop just four minutes in and the second came from Madelyn Kasulinous. On that play, Hickey took a booming shot at the goal and Kasulinous got her stick on it around the cage to net the tally.
No matter what, defenses will always key in on Hickey, and rightfully so. The senior is the most transcendent offensive player for the Panthers and needs a lot of defensive attention. However, Hoosick Falls has done a great job all season long getting others in on the offensive act.
Wednesday, it was Schnoop and Kasulinous, but other times, it's been players including Dezah Weierbach, Catherine Kennedy, Ayla Fauler and Gracie Lohnes, among others.
Having this offensive depth will only strengthen the Panthers' chances come playoff time.
"It's great confidence-wise to know [Lillian] can handle that pressure, but she's been really good this year making sure her teammates are involved," Campbell said. "As we move on in sectionals, you have to have everyone involved. You can't win with just one player. Even our younger players have really developed a lot this year."
Hickey is well aware that she can't do it alone and knows it only benefits the team having everyone rolling on all cylinders.
"Our passing has gotten a lot better throughout the season. We've been doing a lot of shooting drills," Hickey said. "The team is really coming together as a team. We're really clicking, so it's great that everyone is scoring. You can't beat good teams with a few good girls."
Hoosick Falls improves to 13-0 on the season and is on the road today against Corinth. The game is set for a 4:30 p.m. start.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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