SARANAC — Northern Adirondack may have caught Saranac off guard Saturday.
The Bobcats jumped ahead 11:08 into their girls’ soccer game.
“I think they were a little surprised that NAC was as good as they were,” Saranac coach Mary LoTemplio said of the Chiefs. “I think they were expecting something a little different, and I think they thought they were gong to just pass it around them and have a nice, easy outing. And NAC, they’re not the team that you can have a nice, easy outing on.”
The Chiefs answered eight minutes later, took a lead into halftime and beat the Bobcats 4-2 in the Saranac Pre-season Invitational championship game.
After Makenna Magee put Northern Adirondack ahead by sending in a rebound, Ellen Thew tied the game from the left side and then tallied the go-ahead goal with a similar shot into the far corner at 35:06.
Thew, a junior who missed all of last season with an injury, is a standout, but LoTemplio said she’s not the Chiefs’ only weapon.
“There’s a lot of players out here on our team that can contribute, including Ellen,” LoTemplio said. “She’s going to score her share of goals, but we’ve got a whole team of talent here.” The coach added that Kayla Napper played well up top, and Summer Gillespie made some good plays.
Saranac didn’t take long to extend its lead in the second half. In the fourth minute, Northern Adirondack goalkeeper Anna Lashway stopped a Napper shot and the rebound, but Napper stuck with it and found the net on the third try. Thew assisted. Three minutes later, Napper set up Gillespie to make it 4-1.
Northern Adirondack pulled back within two goals 12 seconds later, when Rachael Venne lifted a shot over Saranac keeper Jamie Favreau’s head.
The Bobcats created some good chances in the middle of the half, but the Chiefs held them off the rest of the way.
Favreau made 10 saves, including eight in the second half, to earn the win.
Lashway had 14 saves in the Northern Adirondack nets. Venne finished with a goal and an assist.
“NAC has come up a level every single year, and they really competed hard,” LoTemplio said. “And I have to say, I think they probably wanted it a little more than our team.”
The Chiefs are an experienced team overall, but they’ve got a number of new players in the back, and LoTemplio said that’s one area where they need to improve.
“We gave up a lot of chances in the back. There was a lot of miscommunication between our back,” LoTemplio said. “And we’re young there; we’re inexperienced there. A lot of miscommunication between our goalie and our back line.
“And just our defending as a team (needs improvement). They’re beating one person, and they’re off to the races.”
Saranac 4, Northern Adirondack 2
N. Adirondack 1 1 — 2
Saranac 2 2 — 4
First half- 1, NAC, Mak. Magee (Venne), 11:08. 2, Sar, Thew (Bowman), 19:09. 3, Sar, Thew (LoTemplio), 35:06.
Second half- 4, Sar, Napper (Thew), 3:36. 5, Sar, Gillespie (Napper), 6:36. 6, NAC, Venne (Warick), 6:48.
Shots: Northern Adirondack 12, Saranac 18.
Saves: Lashway, NAC, 14. Favreau, Sar, 10.
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GIRLS SOCCER For more girls' soccer action from around the North Country Saturday check out Page B7.