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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 4, 2010

Lady Blackbirds soccer on the rise to Class C semi-finals

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– When senior co-captains Caitlin Abelseth, Michaela Conway, and Alex Fasulo were freshman on the Lady Birds’ soccer team in 2007, the team won only three games. Now, the team has a significant chance to win a sectional title.

Voorheesville has been on a steady rise since winning three –– six in 2008, eight in 2009, and now 13 wins in 2010 with a Class C crown on the horizon. Head Coach Joe Santos attributes the uphill climb to important off-season work.

“Everyone bought into this,” Santos said of the girls on the team and their parents. “They continued to play soccer all year, so they’ve improved very well as a team. I’m pleased for them.”

“This has been going uphill ever since Caitlin, Michaela, and I got here,” said Fasulo. “It makes for a really exciting senior year. We have to go one step at a time.”

The Birds notched its fourth shutout in a row on Tuesday with a 2-to-0 win at home over Lake George in the Class C quarterfinals. Voorheesville will play Cambridge on Friday in Schuylerville at 3 p.m. in the semi-final round.

Santos told The Enterprise that the three previous games (Duanesburg, Watervliet, and Fonda) before Lake George were against “weaker opposition.” The Lady Birds have outscored its last four opponents by a combined score of 22 to 0.

“Our defense has done a great job at marking the scoring threats,” Santos said of Fasulo, juniors Melissa Bogart and Jenn Cillis, and senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Blake. “They’ve been through a lot of soccer.”

Blake, Cillis, Emily Blow, Hannah Brackett, and Eryn Ryan have been with Voorheesville’s team since 2008. Brackett, a sophomore, leads the Birds with 18 points, right in front of Abelseth, who has 17 points.

“Most of us have been together for what seems like forever,” said Fasulo. “It’s a good thing because we all love each other.”

Even though most of the players have been on the team for two years or more, Voorheesville is still a young squad. Abelseth, Blake, Conway, and Fasulo are the only seniors.

So, all hope is not lost if the Blackbirds don’t win Class C this year.

“We’re also looking beyond because this is an ongoing process,” said Santos. “We have the capability to continue this for a couple of more years. It’s a fortunate situation.”

“This team will still be in decent shape after we leave,” Fasulo said. “But, this is definitely the year for us. We’ve got to keep hope and keep it together.”

Voorheesville lost to Cambridge, 1 to 0, in sectionals two years ago, but no doubt both teams are different now.

The Lady Birds controlled most of the possession against Lake George on Tuesday, but didn’t score until there were 17 minutes left in the game. Santos said that Voorheesville needs to be more focused if it wants to go further.

“The barrier gets taller and taller with each game,” said Santos. “But, these girls have tremendous character and they’re playing well.”

“We’re still on a roll,” Fasulo said.

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