Girls soccer

So we're through the first week of sectional play. Class C was the last to kick off on Saturday, but with only one state regional game to play between sectionals and the state final four, they can take their time getting to the end.

Third-seeded Lake George got started with a 4-1 win over Maple Hill. I didn't see a single one of those goals. I arrived with the camera just after Gabby Marchello scored early in the first half, but left before the rest of the balls went in the net. You can click here to view the photo gallery from the game.

I still don't know LG's opponent ... the Hoosic Valley/Greenville score was the only one we couldn't track down on Saturday.

Bolton-Warrensburg had the most dramatic win of the day, beating Mayfield 4-3 in overtime. Gabrielle Mowery had two goals and an assist for the Eagles, who visit second-seeded Stillwater on Tuesday. That's listed as a 3 p.m. start, but I'm still looking into that, since the Warriors often play at night.

Cambridge got off to a solid start with a 4-0 win over Galway, giving the Indians a chance to play top-seeded Schoharie on Tuesday. Hoosick Falls also moved to the quarterfinals with a 5-1 win that sets up a home game against Cairo-Durham.

Meanwhile, Class B whittled its field down to the semifinals on Saturday, and it brought an end to Schuylerville's season. The Black Horses drew a tough quarterfinal opponent in Voorheesville, and the Blackbirds were 4-2 winners. The Horses finished an otherwise fine season at 12-5-1.

Mechanicville won on the other end of the lower bracket, capping an impressive day for the Wasaren League. At least four Wasaren teams are still alive — Mechanicville, Cambridge, Stillwater and Hoo Falls.

Endless promotion: You can bank on seeing this reminder in every blog post from here to the end. If you want to see when and where the winners play, click here for our up-to-date girls soccer brackets. You can find them every day on our PS Varsity home page.

Alumni note: Queensbury grad Brittany La Plant scored another game-winning goal for Rutgers on Saturday. Click here for the Rutgers press release.

Coverage plans: I've always hated this particular Saturday on the calendar. Football is in the first stages of sectionals and the matchups are rarely competitive. There's a bunch of soccer going on, but it's also spread out all over the place and nothing sticks out as the obvious thing to cover.

So, as a sports editor, what's to do? You can never know ahead of time where the best game will be found (would have been Bolton this year). So I hit a soccer game and a football game with the camera, threw a couple of bodies on the closest football games and hoped to make a pot roast of it on the front page.

I'll have the opposite problem next weekend. There's no question where the big games will be; it becomes a matter of digging up enough bodies to cover them. I've got a plan. We may borrow a news writer to help us out with some of the sports, and I've got former Post-Star and Gazette sportswriter Bill Palmer warming up in the bullpen to be used as a correspondent.

For today, anyway, no games. That gives all of you some time to rest. It gives me some time to continue thinking about whether this is the last season for the girls soccer blog.

The future: When I took over as sports editor in 1999, the high school sports world seemed to be in transition. It looked like everything was spreading out as more sports were introduced and the number of varsity-level teams grew.

Girls sports, in particular, seemed to be gaining in popularity, with soccer leading the charge. I thought the demand for coverage would follow that trend, slowly building over time as former players moved out into the world.

I wanted a sports section designed to match that interest. I wanted us to be ahead of the curve. At one point we had more blogs and all-star teams in the fall for girls sports (field hockey, girls soccer, volleyball) than boys (football, boys soccer), making us the rare bird among media. 

We have pulled back from some of those bells and whistles in recent years, but if you read our newspaper or look at our website on a daily basis, you know we spend a good deal of time covering a wide variety of sports. The problem is, there is no evidence whatsoever that this strategy has been successful.

We get metric reports showing what people are looking at on our website. A mediocre football game will beat out the highest-rated girls soccer game of the season. This blog does well only in cumulative numbers, through constant contributions and relentless promotion. But a single blog post by other writers that addresses a subject of interest to a wider audience (for instance, just about anything written about Joseph Girard III) will blow me away. I sometimes look at those numbers and have a what-have-I-done kind of moment.

Have I built the wrong kind of sports section for the 21st century? Lots of people tell me coverage ought to be "fair" or "equal," but the numbers say you're more interested in how the football and basketball teams did. It's like complimenting a restaurant for carrying liver and onions, then ordering the chicken wings.

Other media seem to have figured this out. Radio stations only broadcast football games. The cable partner of the state public high school organization shows football games on TV; for any other sport, you'll be sent to the Internet. Or just go up and down the sports stations on your TV almost any day, where you'll find a schedule heavily weighted in favor of male-dominated, mainstream sports. It appears to me that not much has changed in sports consumer habits since 1999.

I am not suggesting that we will stop covering girls soccer, or any other sport. But should I be plowing hour after hour into writing a girls soccer blog that is read by a relatively modest number of people? Would it be wiser for me to write a more general sports blog that addresses a wider audience?

Right now, I don't know. I've enjoyed writing this blog over the years, but reality dictates that we consider whether a change is in order.

Contact Sports Editor Greg Brownell via email at brownell@poststar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @glensfallsse.

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