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The Johnstown hockey field shines brightly in the victory against Bethlehem




JOHNSTOWN – Two years ago, the Johnstown varsity hockey team went through a host of emotions. The entire sports program had to raise money to be able to participate at all. As soon as the Lady Bills hit the field, they captured a Section II Class C title.

The coronavirus pandemic took away field hockey during the fall and threatened to take away the last varsity campaign for eight seniors on the roster. The Lady Bills are now participating in Fall Season II and showed on a beautiful Monday afternoon that they are really back in shape.

Johnstown needed just a minute of action against Bethlehem to score and the Lady Bills put in a stellar 60-minute performance by taking an 8-0 victory over the Eagles at Knox Field.

“I think we’re back,” said Ann Lee, Johnstown’s senior striker. “We are ready and determined. We try to make the most of the season and put the ball in the cage as much as possible.”

“It was nerve-wracking not knowing if I would put on this jersey for Johnstown hockey again,” said senior forward Taryn Ringer. “I’m so glad I did and we’re going to play. I’m just really happy to be back with my family before we graduate.”

If the 2020 season is delayed to Fall Season II, there will be no sections or playoffs for the Lady Bills. Johnstown finished with a 20-1 record during the 2019 season, falling 1-0 against Bronxville in the Class C final.

“My heart broke for them in the fall,” said Johnstown coach Christine Krempa. “This is when I get emotional … these kids mean everything to me. This senior class was the first group I had in the youth program I started.”

“It was really disappointing,” said Lee. “We saw teams from other sections playing in the fall and they put Foothills on hold. From then on it was a wait. Once we got clear, it was a great feeling.”

Johnstown opened the season on March 16 with a 1-0 decision over Foothills Council rival Queensbury. On Monday, a squad that brought back 10 of 11 starters and produced 90 goals during the 2019 season returned to its prolific scoring manners against Bethlehem (2-1).

“We wanted to come out fast and hard and put them on their heels,” Krempa said.

Lee opened the score when she made the insert in a penalty corner and jumped on an open rebound opportunity after a shot from senior midfielder Emily Fleming. The same combination hooked up early in the second quarter. This time, Lee put down a rebound after a backward shot to Fleming’s center.

Ringer, the 2019 Times Union Hockey Player of the Year after scoring 44 goals as a junior, scored the next two goals for Johnstown. She threw a shot from close range in the second quarter and scored on an incredible breakaway in the third quarter. The Duke University star defeated three Bethlehem defenders to get to the loose ball and made an adjustment when two more defenders approached from behind.

“The good thing about our team is that (opponents) know Taryn and Emily. We have a lot of other threats, so when they are guarded, we put the trust in the other players,” said Lee.

On her way to Appalachian State, Fleming contributed a long-range shot to go along with her assists. Ayaka Sasaki, a sophomore, scored two goals in the second half. Ringer finished with three goals and two assists.

“A lot of the underclassmen left today and it’s a lot of fun to watch. I was really proud of (Sasaki),” said Ringer. “We play like we’re going back to the state playoffs. We didn’t promise the next game. We could easily be quarantined, so we play like every game is a playoff game. That’s our motivation.” : play your hardest, because it could be your last game. “

“We’re going to make the most of it, so even though we can’t have the late season, we’re going to do our best,” said Lee.

“I am extremely grateful to be here again,” said Krempa. “ As much as I want Bethlehem to come out and have a good game, I want my girls to vent all their frustrations because they don’t have a fall season and have no chance to win a state championship and play it out against everyone else. which is ours. “

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