The Shaker girls soccer team could have easily fallen back into obscurity this season after graduating the core of a team that reached the Section II, Class AA semifinals two years ago.
Instead, the Blue Bison have fought their way to a 5-5 record entering Thursday's Suburban Council North Division game against Saratoga Springs.
We're competing, said Shaker coach Pete Mravlja. "We're waiting for things to come together, but we're working hard."
A look at Shaker's three most recent games shows how much that hard work has paid off. The Blue Bison upended a strong Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake team 1-0 on Sept. 29 and defeated Averill Park 2-1 Oct. 6 before falling to North Division-leading Shenendehowa 3-0 Oct. 8.
Shaker had its moments against Shen (10-2), though. The Blue Bison had several scoring chances in the second half, including a shot by Alyssa Plue that had to be punched away by goaltender Mackenzie Mylod.
"We played much better in the second half," said Mravlja.
Shen did most of its damage in the first 20 minutes of the game. Kristin Connors and Shannon McMillan scored to give the Plainsmen a 2-0 lead, and Gabby Mylod added her first goal in three varsity seasons to create the final margin of victory.
"I was so happy for her," said Shen coach Holli Mulholland of Mylod's goal. "She always does what we ask of her. She just hasn't been able to finish [her shots]."
Shaker goaltender Emily Johnson made 11 saves to keep her team in the game.
The Blue Bison needed an overtime goal by Morgan Berry to defeat Averill Park last Tuesday. Plue tallied in the first half, and Johnson made 19 saves.
After hosting Saratoga Thursday, Shaker faces Mohonasen Friday. ""