CLINTONVILLE — Six days removed from losing multiple impact players to injury, AuSable Valley girls’ soccer coach Bruce Bourgeois began looking for new players to emerge and contribute.
He found them Monday.
Vanessa Garrow and Jeanna Manning recorded their first-career goals at the varsity level as the Patriots (3-1) defeated Peru in Northern Soccer League play, 2-0.
“This was a great win,” Bourgeois said. “We said all along we could beat anybody, but we have to play the right way. We’re finally coming together, we’re passing the ball well, we’re playing great defense, we’re moving the ball and we’re getting the shots off.
“I’m very pleased with how our team did against a very strong Peru team. I played soccer with (coach) Tommy (Harrigan), so we’ve got a little bit of a friendly rivalry, which is kind of cool.”
AuSable Valley opened the scoring with just 9:08 gone in the first half.
Senior halfback Rachel Knapp floated a direct kick past the Indians’ defense to Garrow’s right foot. Garrow buried the one-time feed to put the Patriots up 1-0.
“It was amazing to actually score my first-career goal,” Garrow said. “I saw the ball and everybody was like, ‘shoot it.’ So I kicked it in. I watched the ball go in because I wanted to see my first goal in action, so it was pretty cool.”
AuSable Valley managed a one-goal lead with both teams exiting the pitch for halftime.
After each team traded back-to-back shots off the crossbar to open the second half, Manning received a cross from teammate Hillary Drake and sent home a shot by the near-side post at 14:46.
“I had a girl on my backside, and she was shoving me around,” Manning said. “I was out by the sideline, and they passed it to Hillary. I saw that she was going to cross it, so I darted in toward the corner post. I happened to be there at the right time.”
Peru applied significant pressure in the final 25 minutes, but Bourgeois was pleased with his team’s ability to limit scoring chances and maintain possession.
“We did well moving the ball and kept it on their end in the second half, for the most part,” Bourgeois said. “Bryce Douglass did an excellent job in goal. She did a great job. Last year, for the last half of the season, she stepped up to be a keeper. So she’s really done well.
“But I’m really pleased with all the girls. They did excellent. I can never say enough good things about our defense. Logan Snow, Alyssa Baughn, Priscilla Coats and Tiffany Evens — as a group, I think there’s none better. Of course our halfback Rachel Knapp did an excellent job preserving the middle.”
Douglass sealed the shutout by accumulating 10 saves between the pipes for the Patriots. Indians netminder Brittany Miner totaled 11 saves in the two-goal loss.
Bourgeois, who got goals from a sophomore and junior, said his newcomers are stepping to the forefront.
“The younger girls who we’ve brought up, they’ve really stepped up,” Bourgeois said. “They’ve learned a lot over the past couple games, and they’re playing really good soccer.”
Monday was the beginning of a tough week for AuSable Valley. Bourgeois’ Patriots travel to Beekmantown Wednesday before heading to Division I power Saranac Friday.
“This is a tough week for us,” Bourgeois said. “This starts us off right, so we’ll see how we go from here.”
AuSable Valley 2, Peru 0
Peru 0 0 — 0
AuSable Valley 1 1 — 2
First half- 1, AVCS, Garrow (Knapp), 9:08.
Second half- 2, AVCS, Manning (Drake), 14:46.
Shots: AuSable Valley 13. Peru 10.
Saves: Minor, PCS, 11. Douglass, AVCS, 10.