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Shorthanded Johnsburg-Minerva keeps going

From the PREP ROUNDUP: Stories, photos and news from the high school sports scene series

Somehow, despite playing shorthanded in pretty much every game this season, the Johnsburg-Minerva girls soccer team keeps winning games.

On Thursday, Johnsburg-Minerva shut out Indian Lake-Long Lake, scoring three second-half goals in a 3-0 Northern Soccer League victory at Johnsburg — despite fielding just nine players.

“The nine that are showing up and able to play are just coming together as a team and filling the empty spaces, which is something we’ve been working on all season,” said J-M coach Candace Husson, whose team improved to 5-1 in the league, 5-2 overall.

Husson said her club started with 10 players Thursday, but within minutes were down to nine after an injury.

“We’ve only played two games with a full 11,” she said. “We started with 12 or 13, but between injuries and kids not being fully committed, we’ve been shorthanded. I keep telling them, I don’t care how many people we have, play like we have 11.”

Cassie Dunbar scored two goals and Hannah McNally netted the other, while goalie Charlize Bernard made five saves to pick up the shutout. Along with center defender Avery Bayse, they are the team’s four seniors.

“Those four seniors are the core of the team — they play at every key position, and those four are involved in every single play on the field,” Husson said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without them.”

J-M’s only two losses were to Willsboro and Fort Ann of the Adirondack League.

“Even with us playing 9-on-11 (against Willsboro), we still pulled off two goals against a good team,” Husson said. “I told them they should be very proud of that.

“We played a game in Wells with only eight,” she added. “They continue to impress me. I don’t take any of them out of the game — they run for 80 minutes straight. ... I had one official come up to me at halftime and say, ‘Coach, you know you only have 10 out there?’ I told him, ‘That’s all I have,’ and he said, ‘You could’ve fooled me!’”

Husson said the team should be getting one more player — one her players recruited that needed to get all of her practices in — by next week.

“At this point of the season, we have to decide if we want to keep riding with nine or 10, or not going to sectionals,” Husson said. “Technically, we just need seven to start a game. I’m excited to see how the rest of the season goes.”

Johnsburg-Minerva 3, IL-LL 0

Indian Lake Long Lake 0 0 — 0

Johnsburg Minerva 0 3 — 3

First half: None.

Second half: 1, Johnsburg-Minerva, Hannah McNally, 7:41. 2, Johnsburg-Minerva, Cassie Dunbar (Hannah McNally), 24:02. 3, Johnsburg-Minerva, Cassie Dunbar, 27:08.

Goalies-saves: Charlize Bernard (JM) 5, Marilla Liddle (IL-LL) 13.

Corner kicks: Johnsburg-Minerva 10, Indian Lake-Long Lake 1.

Records: Johnsburg-Minerva (5-1, 5-2).

Follow Pete Tobey on Twitter @PTobeyPSVarsity.

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Covering high school and minor-league sports in Section II since 1989. SUNY Plattsburgh grad. Colleen's lesser half. Three amazing young people call me Dad. Fan of Philadelphia Eagles, New York Rangers and Mets, and Syracuse Orange.

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