PLATTSBURGH — The AuSable Valley girls’ soccer team spent most of the season taking its lumps from Class B opponents in Division I of the Northern Soccer League.
Playing those larger schools all season, though, may have worked in the Patriots’ favor.
No. 3 seed AuSable Valley, led by a pair of goals by Rachel Knapp, knocked off No. 2 seed Ticonderoga 6-0 in the Section VII Class C semifinals at the Plattsburgh Athletic Complex Saturday.
The Patriots move into Thursday’s championship game against Northern Adirondack at 5 p.m. at Plattsburgh.
“We know we had a hard season in Division I,” Patriots coach Bruce Bourgeois said. “This is how we thought we’d be. Our speed and our pressure really help us as a team.”
Just 5:16 into the game, Logan Snow sent a direct kick into the box that Hailey Taylor was able to corral and sneak past the Sentinels’ keeper, Megan Campney, to give AuSable Valley a 1-0 lead.
The pressure would continue from the Patriots.
Deanna Dashnaw and Meghan Strong each found the back of the net by capturing rebounds deflected by Campney and gave AuSable Valley a 3-0 lead midway through the first half.
Campney was forced out of the game by an injury, finishing with four saves. She was replaced by Sadie Hamel.
Knapp then connected on her first goal of the game on a shot that lofted over Hamel’s head and into the net.
Taylor Saltus wrapped up first-half scoring with a goal at the 33:59 mark with an assist from Maddy Rondeau.
“We wanted to come out strong and attack,” Knapp said. “We wanted to keep the momentum going in our favor; we play the best when we keep pressure on the goalie with our crosses.
“We all did a great job passing.”
During the second half, the Patriots kept the pressure on but weren’t as successful in connecting on their shots as Hamel finished with seven saves in the game.