STILLWATER — Between injuries and girls leaving the program, the Peru girls’ soccer team has overcome plenty of adversity this season.
However, only having two substitutes proved to be the Indians’ demise as Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake wore down the undermanned Indians en route to a 5-0 win in the New York State Class A quarterfinals Saturday night.
“Passing the ball the way they did, they wore us out,” Peru coach Tom Harrigan said. “We only have two subs and one of those was injured. They’re a great passing team and they just wore us down.”
After surrendering a goal to Elle Muller in the game’s sixth minute, Peru (7-8-1) held tough for the remainder of the first half. The Indians’ back line of Maddy Flynn, Anna Hogan and Emily Lawliss managed to thwart off the Spartans’ relentless attack with the help of goalie Kara Barber, who made a couple of spectacular saves early on.
Offensively, Peru had a handful of opportunities to knot the game at one. Sam Spear missed a shot just over the crossbar in the 17th minute. Then 15 minutes later, some creative passing between Spear and Rachel Sheldrick led to a ball across the middle. However, Lidia Greselin was a half-step slow as the Burnt Hills keeper smothered the ball before a play could be made.
The biggest call of the game came with 26 seconds remaining in the first half. A tripping violation inside Peru’s box led to a penalty kick, which Burnt Hills’ Morgan Burchhardt promptly placed in the corner on the net, allowing the Spartans to take a commanding 2-0 advantage into the half.
“All (Peru) would have needed is one shot to tie it back up,” Burnt Hills coach Brian Bold said. “So to get that goal with 26 seconds left was huge for us to go into the half with a bit of a cushion and momentum on our side.”
In the second half, Burnt Hills dominated possession of the ball. The Section II champion Spartans strung together passes and switched fields, forcing the Indians to cover a lot of ground. In the 51st minute, Meghan Malone fired a shot into the back of the net, making it a three-goal game. About 10 minutes later, Jenna Retell made it 4-0 in favor of the Spartans.
“We were just tired,” senior Anna Hogan said. “We didn’t have any subs and they just kept coming strong. But we gave it everything we had and I’m proud of the way we played.”
Ashley Capron’s goal with four minutes to play concluded the game’s scoring. After registering five shots in the first half, the Indians only manufactured one in the second frame as they spent much of the time on the defensive.
Barber recorded nine saves in goal for Peru, as Burnt Hills held a 16-6 shot advantage and 14-0 corner kick margin.
Despite the loss, the Indians advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time in three years and have plenty to be proud of as their season came to end.
“It’s been a long season since August and it’s been a great group of girls,” Harrigan said. “They worked hard and I am so pleased that we got this far.”
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 5, Peru 0
Peru 0 0 — 0
Burnt Hills 2 3 — 5
Scoring: Burchhardt, Capron, Malone, Muller, Retell
Saves: Barber, P, 9; Petrillose, M, 3.