The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls soccer team is going back to Cortland for another shot at the state Class A title.
The Spartans scored three times in the second half to turn back Section X champion Franklin Academy 4-1 in last Saturday's regional at Stillwater High School and advance to the state semifinals for the seventh consecutive year.
"Hopefully this year, we can make it past the first game and maybe bring home a title," said senior forward Jessica Lyden.
Lyden played a big role in clinching the regional title for BH-BL. She scored less than 10 minutes into the second half to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead. Then following a Franklin Academy goal later in the second half, Lyden set up Morgan Burchhardt with a nice cross that Burchhardt headed into the net to re-establish BH-BL's two-goal advantage.
"I think we got it into our heads that we had to step it up," said Lyden. "We didn't play our best in the first half."
The trio of Lyden, Burchhardt and Meghan Malone accounted for three of BH-BL's four goals. Carly Finn added the final Spartans' goal with 1:46 left in the second half.
"They're as dangerous as they come, and when we get to Cortland, hopefully they play just as hard as they did tonight," BH-BL coach Brian Bold said of Lyden, Burchhardt and Malone.
Franklin Academy did what it could to stay in the game, but the Huskies had a hard time getting the ball away from BH-BL's forwards and midfielders. The Spartans had a 21-4 advantage in shots on goal, which kept the Huskies on their heels.
Despite holding a distinct advantage in time of possession and shots on goal, Bold said he felt his team struggled at times, especially in the first half.
"It was lackluster," Bold said of his team's first-half offensive effort, which yielded only a goal by Malone 17:03 before halftime. "It wasn't sharp, and it wasn't clean. "The speed of play wasn't what we wanted."