Canajoharie prevails, 1-0

LANSINGBURGH – The third-seeded Canajoharie Lady Cougars knocked off the second-seeded Hoosic Valley Lady Indians 1-0 Saturday, solidifying their first ever trip to the Class C championship game.

“This is the farthest we’ve ever made it in sectionals,” said Canajoharie head coach Ellee Fichthorn. “I’m just so proud of these girls. They’ve worked hard for years and they belong here.”

After playing to a scoreless tie in the first half, Fichthorn knew that the Lady Cougars would have to use their speed advantage to win. Fichthorn said she advised her team at halftime to keep passing and looking for players on the wing due to struggles controlling the middle of the field.

With 27:11 remaining in the game, Canajoharie made a run down the sideline that culminated with their leading scorer, Jenelle Dillenbeck, tapping the ball through Hoosic Valley defenders and past goalkeeper Samantha Carlo. It appeared that Carlo’s vision may have been obscured by her defenders.

Brianna Slater assisted on the goal for the Lady Cougars.

Later in the half, Hoosic Valley’s Lauren Madigan made a furious run down the sideline and cut in towards the goal, only to see Canajoharie goalkeeper Lauren Balfe there to snatch the ball away.

Despite the lead for most of the second half, Canajoharie fully remained in an offensive mode as the clock wore on.

“I didn’t want them to change our game,” said Fichthorn. “When we try to switch into a defensive play it changes us, so we kept playing our attacking game.”

Balfe finished with nine saves to post the shutout win in goal for Canajoharie, which has outscored its three postseason foes 18-0. It was the ninth shutout of the season for the Lady Cougars, who have won seven straight game.

Carlo made 12 stops for Hoosic Valley.

Canajoharie (16-3 overall) will take on the Waterford-Halfmoon Fordians on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at Stillwater High School with a title on the line. Waterford (17-1-1 overall) posted a 2-1 win over Maple Hill in the semifinals Saturday.