SALEM — Coach Rich McCabe knew it wouldn’t be easy this season after losing eight starters to graduation. But so far, the Fort Ann Cardinals are three-for-three in Adirondack League boys soccer games.
Two of those games have been close, including Monday’s 1-0 victory over Salem. Aidan Barnes scored late in the first overtime to end it.
Barnes got a pass from Tyler Steves and took off on a breakaway, shooting into the upper left corner of the goal. Both Barnes and Steves are senior captains.
McCabe said the Cardinals played together in two leagues over the summer, giving a team with four freshmen a little extra experience, but there are still new people adjusting to new roles.
“It’s trial by fire,” McCabe said. “We’ve improved a lot since the summer. We’re coming.”
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All three Fort Ann league victories have been shutouts. The Cards edged Bolton-Warrensburg 1-0 early in the season, then beat Hartford 4-0.
“The defense has played very well, I’m happy with how it’s playing,” McCabe said. “We’ve just got to find some way to get the ball in the net. ... I keep reminding (the players), that’s the hardest part of the game, putting the ball in the net.”
Adam Winchell, a junior captain, has been in goal for all three shutouts. Winchell played stopper last year, but got some experience in goal as a freshman.
“He’s very vocal, a good reader,” McCabe said, “he makes life for his fullbacks a lot easier.”