Scotties storm back, collar Streaks

Ballston Spa battles back from a 6-2 halftime deficit to defeat Saratoga Springs, 10-9, in a Suburba
Saratoga Springs’ Nico Cortese guards the ball as he advances it through the Ballston Spa defense in the first half of a high school varsity lacrosse match Tuesday night.
Saratoga Springs’ Nico Cortese guards the ball as he advances it through the Ballston Spa defense in the first half of a high school varsity lacrosse match Tuesday night.

It was one of the best timeouts Ballston Spa lacrosse coach Kevin Dayton never called.

“Our kid is running down the field, and one of my assistants is yelling, ‘Call time out, call time out,’ ” Dayton said after his Scotties rallied for a pulsating 10-9 Suburban Council victory over Saratoga Springs Tuesday night. “I’ve been known to call them in that situation, but I’m glad I didn’t that time.

“We were in transition, and that’s where we flourish.”

Jeff Seager’s interception in Ballston Spa’s defensive end led to Greg Dunlavey’s goal with 41.4 seconds left as the Scotties stunned the Blue Streaks with an improbably comeback. Ballston Spa trailed at the half, 6-2, and was down, 9-5, after Tyler Weil’s goal for Saratoga with 3:08 left in the third period.

“That was exciting,” said Dunlavey, who had knotted the game at 9-9 with 1:42 to play, and finished with three goals. “First game under the lights. We battled back to win. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

And the fourth quarter could not have gone any worse for the Blue Streaks, who lost by one goal for the second time in a week.

“We had seven penalties in the second half, and five in the fourth quarter. We kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Saratoga coach Jon Coons. “In the fourth quarter, we played defense the whole time, and Ballston Spa kept coming at us.”

Saratoga goalie Ian O’Brien did his best to maintain his team’s 9-8 lead in the final quarter, making a pair of difficult saves and watching another Ballston Spa attempt hit the pipe. After Dunlavey broke through to tie the game, the tall junior attackman connected again to finish it, giving the Scotties (5-4, 7-5) their third straight win.

“I knew we were going to score on that fastbreak,” said Seager, who assisted on Dunlavey’s game-winning drive from 15 yards away. “I saw him [Dunlavey] wide open, and he was yelling for the ball. He wanted to score that goal.”

It never would have happened without the alert play of Seager, who picked off a pass intended for Weil deep in Ballston Spa’s defensive zone, and headed toward the midfield line before dropping the ball off. The senior midfielder got the ball back after a quick couple of quick passes and found Dunlavey, who went high right corner to beat O’Brien.

“We were yelling at our defenders to watch number 17 [Weil],” said Dayton. “They threw the ball to him, Jeff saw the lane and got it, and he was off to the races.”

“We had an opportunity at the end, and we turned it over,” Coons said.

Saratoga (3-6, 5-6), though, turned it on offensively in the second frame, when it tallied four unanswered goals for a 6-2 lead. Ryan Quinn opened the scoring to break a

2-2 tie, Weil and Jason Smoak both scored man-up goals and Nico Cortese capped the surge when his length-of-the-field pass bounced by Ballston Spa netminder Cam Staulters with 2.7 seconds left.

“I said to my team at the half, ‘This is not the brand of lacrosse we play,’” Dayton said. “I put it on my seniors. I said, ‘Talk to the other players. You’ve got to get them to play smart and hard,’ and I guess they said the right things. In the second half, we were a totally different team.”

Ballston Spa cut its deficit to three on four different occasions in the third quarter on goals by Mike Boisvert (6-3), Seager (7-4), Cory Nowak (8-5) and Jordan Duffy (9-6). Nowak made it 9-7 with 32.7 seconds left in the stanza, and Boisvert’s tally with 6:31 to go in the fourth made it 9-8.

“The comeback? That shows that our team never gives up,” said Dunlavey. “We kept battling, and played as a team.”

“We made some mistakes in the first half. We didn’t play so well,” Dayton said. “I told them, ‘The only way you’re going to get it done is as a total team. It can’t be one against 10. It has to be 10 against 10.’ ”

Nowak had a strong game for the Scotties with three goals and an assist on Boisvert’s fourth-quarter goal, while the Onondaga Comm­unity College-bound midfielder also won 16 faceoffs. His last win came after Dunvaley’s game-winner, and Ballston Spa burned off the rest of the clock.

Weil scored three goals for the Blue Streaks, Cortese had two and Quinn finished with a goal and two assists. Saratoga also got a rare goal from a defenseman when Zach Van Earden went from one end to the other and beat Staulters for a 2-0, first-quarter lead.

Saratoga 2 4 3 0 —  9

Ballston Spa 2 0 5 3 — 10

Saratoga scoring: Dylan Nizolek 1-1, Zach Van Earden 1-0, Ryan Quinn 1-2, Tyler Weil 3-0, Jason Smoak 1-0, Nico Cortese 2-0, Jack Quinn 0-1, Andy Morris 0-1. Ballston Spa scoring: Cory Nowak 3-1, Greg Dunlavey 3-0, Jason Chrisman 0-1, Mike Boisvert 2-0, Jeff Seager 1-2, Troy Gargiulo 0-2, Jordan Duffy 1-0.

Goalkeepers: Saratoga, Ian O’Brien, 15 saves. Ballston Spa, Cam Staulters, 3 saves.

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