Girls’ soccer: Schalmont has overcome a lot of adversity

PHOTOGRAPHER: MICHAEL KELLY
Freshman Olivia Piraino, right, is the leading goalscorer for Niskayuna, the top seed in the Section II Class AA girls' tournament.PHOTOGRAPHER: MICHAEL KELLY Freshman Olivia Piraino, right, is the leading goalscorer for Niskayuna, the top seed in the Section II Class AA girls' tournament.

By Michael Kelly

— On its undefeated way to a state champ­ionship last year, the Schalmont girls’ soccer team outscored its opponents 124-9 during the regular season.

What the Sabres pulled off this time around might be even more impressive.

Schalmont landed atop the Class B postseason bracket when fields for the Section II tournaments were released Tuesday, as the Sabres continued to overcome each obstacle thrown their way this season.

“These girls,” Schalmont head coach Alaina Resue said, “they just stay positive through everything.”

They went through the heartbreak of losing phenomenal freshman Davia Rossi in the preseason, whose battle against non-Hodgkin lymphoma continues to go well and unite the Capital Region soccer community. Plenty of other players have also missed action for Schalmont, including junior star Molly Older, who has not played a minute this season after tearing her ACL. Even Resue couldn’t make it through the season unscathed, and is still recovering from breaking her collarbone right before the season started.

“But I knew the potential this group has,” Resue said. “Going into the season, it was more of a question of if they could fight all the obstacles that just seemed to be piling onto them in a very short period of time.”

This year’s Schalmont team is not the same juggernaut it was a year ago. Instead of it taking a full regular season, the Sabres allowed nine goals in their first five games. But they won each of those first five matches, too, and only lost so far this season to Class AA’s Saratoga Springs.

“The close games are nerve-wracking and being unsure of what the outcome of a game is going to be a little more nerve-wracking this year,” Resue said, “but it’s also very exciting and a lot of fun to coach.”

While the scores have been closer than a year ago, Schalmont has still been ranked as the No. 1 team in the Class B state poll all season. A march to a state championship is not the near-certainty it was in 2015, but it is still what the Sabres expect of themselves.

“We know what we’re capable of,” Resue said.

Joining Schalmont in receiving No. 1 seeds Tuesday were Niskayuna (Class AA),

Scotia-Glenville (Class A), Lake George (Class C) and Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville (Class D).

Tournament play starts today with the first round of the Class A tournament. Champ­ionship games will be played between Oct. 28 and Nov. 2.

CLASS AA SHUFFLE

After each playing one another during the final two weeks of the regular season, the Suburban Council’s top-four teams find themselves with tough matchups looming before possibly reconvening to play in the Section II Class AA semifinals.

Notably, No. 3 Shenendehowa will face No. 6 Guilderland and No. 4 Saratoga Springs will play No. 5 Colonie in games set for Monday.

Shaker earned the No. 2 seed and will face the winner of No. 7 Bethlehem and No. 10 Troy in the quarterfinals. Top-seeded Niskayuna will play the winner of No. 8 Columbia and No. 9 Ballston Spa.

The top-four teams in the Class AA draw combined to lose only two games to area teams this season outside of themselves.

WIDE-OPEN “A”

The Class A field might have the most true contenders of any of the playoff fields. Scotia-Glenville, undefeated at 12-0-4, is atop the bracket, but has plenty of worthy challengers.

Defending champion Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake is the No. 3 team in the draw, while last year’s runner-up Mohonasen is at No. 4. Ahead of those two teams is a fellow Suburban Council squad, Averill Park, which is No. 2 after a 9-5-2 campaign.

All out of the Foothills Council, No. 5 South Glens Falls, No. 6 Queensbury and No. 7 Gloversville each posted winning seasons.

SISTER ACT

Carrie Krohn is a junior. Megan Krohn is an eighth-grader. Katie Krohn is a seventh-grader.

Together, the three sisters have combined to score 47 goals and register 36 assists so far this season for Scho­harie, which has also received 10 goals this season from Maddie Phelan and standout play from goalie Abby Wetsel.

“We’ve been lucky here at Schoharie. We’ve had a lot of sisters, a lot of cousins, that have worked out for us,” said Kevin Scofield, who coaches Schoharie along with Tammy Drinon. “Katie, Carrie and Meghan are good teammates and they work hard.”

The real secret, though, to Schoharie’s success?

“We’re all a big family here,” said Scofield, whose team earned the No. 2 seed in Class C.

That type of environment is part of the reason Scofield said Schoharie knew it could bring Katie Krohn into the mix as a seventh-grader.

“We knew she was a good player and would fit in with us,” Scofield said of Katie Krohn, his team’s leading scorer with 28 goals. “She does anything we ask, but that’s the thing about our girls: they all . . . do anything we ask of them.”

Schoharie shared the Class C area title last season with Greenville, but Schoharie advanced to the state tournament after winning in penalty kicks. Schoharie ended its 2015 season in the state semifinals, but Scofield said his team is taking a business-like approach to this year’s postseason.

“We don’t even talk about [last year],” Scofield said. “We don’t talk about that kind of stuff. We take it game by game and however it works out, it works out.”

FRESH FACE

Looking for a new star this postseason?

Here’s one: Olivia Piraino, a Niskayuna freshman who has scored a team-best 15 goals and is tied for the team’s lead in assists at 10.

Niskayuna head coach Bryce Colby said he thought Piraino could contribute right away, but that the freshman outdid his expectations for her.

“Did I think she’d end up with more goals than Izzy [Lynch]? No,” said Colby, referring to his junior star who has scored 11 goals this season. “So it is more than I expected, but we knew she’d be a valuable player.”

Senior Erica Wasserbach said Piraino has given the Silver Warriors another dynamic offensive talent atop their attack.

“She just does unexplainable things with the ball,” Wasserbach said of Piraino.

CLASS AA

First round

Thursday

9-Ballston Spa at 8-Columbia, 3 p.m.; 10-Troy at 7-Bethlehem, 3 p.m.

Quarterfinals

Monday

Ballston Spa/Columbia at 1-Niskayuna, 3 p.m.; Troy/Bethlehem at 2-Shaker, 3 p.m.; 6-Guilderland at 3-Shenendehowa, 6 p.m.; 5-Colonie at 4-Saratoga Springs, 3 p.m.

Semifinals

Thursday, Oct. 27

At Stillwater, 5 and 7 p.m.

Championship

Tuesday, Nov. 1

At Stillwater, 6 p.m.

CLASS A

First round

Today

9-Emma Willard at 8-Lansingburgh, 6:30 p.m.

Quarterfinals

Saturday

Emma Willard/Lansingburgh at 1-Scotia-Glenville, 3 p.m.; 7-Gloversville at 2-Averill Park, 3 p.m.; 6-Queensbury at 3-Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 6 p.m.; 5-South Glens Falls at 4-Mohonasen, 6 p.m.

Semifinals

Tuesday

At Stillwater, 5 and 7 p.m.

Championship

Friday, Oct. 28

At Stillwater, 7 p.m.

CLASS B

First round

Friday

13-Broadalbin-Perth at 4-Voorheesville, 3 p.m.; 12-Johnstown at 5-Cohoes, 3 p.m.; 11-Cobleskill-Richmondville at 6-Hoosick Falls, 3 p.m.; 10-Holy Names at 7-Albany Academy, 3 p.m.; 9-Coxsackie-Athens at 8-Tamarac, 3 p.m.

Quarterfinals

Monday

Coxsackie-Athens/Tamarac at 1-Schalmont, TBA; Holy Names/Albany Academy at 2-Schuylerville, 3 p.m.; Cobleskill-Richmondville/Hoosick Falls at 3-Catholic Central, TBA; Broadalbin-Perth/Voorheesville vs. Johnstown/Cohoes, 3 p.m.

Semifinals

Wednesday, Oct. 26

At Stillwater, 5 and 7 p.m.

Championship

Saturday, Oct. 29

At Stillwater, 2 p.m.

CLASS C

First round

Saturday

16-Greenwich at 1-Lake George, 3 p.m.; 15-Granville at 2-Schoharie, 3 p.m.; 14-Berlin at 3-Stillwater, 7 p.m.; 13-Berne-Knox-Westerlo at 4-Mechanicville, 3 p.m.; 12-Hoosic Valley at 5-Greenville, 3 p.m.; 11-Maple Hill at 6-Cairo-Durham, 3 p.m.; 10-Middleburgh at 7-Chatham, 3 p.m.; 9-Galway at 8-Cambridge, 3 p.m.

Quarterfinals

Wednesday, Oct. 26

At higher seed, 3 p.m.

Semifinals

Saturday, Oct. 29

At Lansingburgh, 3 and 5 p.m.

Championship

Wednesday, Nov. 2

At Lansingburgh, 7 p.m.

CLASS D

First round

Friday

10-Mekeel Christian Academy at 7-Salem, 3 p.m.; 9-Heatly at 8-Doane Stuart, 3 p.m.

Quarterfinals

Tuesday

Heatly/Doane Stuart at 1-Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, 3 p.m.; Mekeel Christian Academy/Salem at 2-Bolton, 3 p.m.; 6-Saratoga Central Catholic at 3-Northville, 3 p.m.; 5-Fort Plain at 4-Fort Ann, 3 p.m.

Semifinals

Friday, Oct. 28

At Lansingburgh, 5 and 7 p.m.

Championship

Wednesday, Nov. 2

At Lansingburgh, 5 p.m.