Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls making strides

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls soccer team is quickly rounding back into the form that helped the Spartans dominate the Section II, Class A ranks the last several seasons.

The Spartans raised their record to 2-1-1 Tuesday by beating Mohonasen 7-2. The victory came after BH-BL opened the season with overtime games against Ballston Spa and Niskayuna and a 2-1 loss to Shenendehowa last week.

Considering that we opened with probably the toughest schedule in the Suburban Council I'm very happy with how we're playing right now, said BH-BL coach Brian Bold.

What's encouraging Bold is the fact that the Spartans have carried the play against all of their opponents. They registered 25 shots in regulation and overtime to beat Ballston Spa 2-1 Sept. 8, and they out-shot Shen 16-10 in a 2-1 loss on Sept. 10. BH-BL also had its chances in last Saturday's game against Niskayuna, but the Spartans couldn't capitalize and had to settle for a 0-0 tie.

"Could we have been 3-0? Absolutely," said Bold. "Will I take 1-1-1 [after three games]? You bet."

The key to BH-BL's success lies in its core of 11 returning players from last year's Sectional championship squad. The Spartans have a veteran in goal with senior Emily McNutt, plenty of experience in the backfield and several weapons up front including Monica Wolf (3 goals), Jillian Beatty (2 goals, 2 assists) and Emily Nikolski (2 goals, 2 assists).

"There's a core group that know nothing less than being Sectional champions," said Bold.

That experience will come in handy for BH-BL as it competes with Shen, Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs for the Suburban Council North Division title.

"I don't think there are any other Class A teams that have the [league] schedule that we have," said Bold.

BH-BL won't be able to prepare for Sectionals by playing non-league opponents, though. With schools across the state reducing the number of soccer games from 18 to 16, there's no room for non-league games.

"I think losing two games is a detriment to everybody, especially the kids," said Bold. "As for our preparation, I think we'll be fine."


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