Warriors driven by perfection, 7-4

Nationally ranked Niskayuna turns aside a game effort by Colonie, 7-4, and runs its boys' lacrosese
Niskayuna’s Jared Franze advances the ball through the Colonie secondary in first half of their boys’ lacrosse game Thursday night.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Niskayuna’s Jared Franze advances the ball through the Colonie secondary in first half of their boys’ lacrosse game Thursday night.

Defensive midfielder Zach Frohne picked up a loose ball near the center line and never hesitated.

“All season, coach has been telling me that if I have a lane, take it and shoot,” the senior said after

producing the tie-breaking goal in Niskayuna’s 7-4 Suburban Council victory over Colonie Thursday night. “I scooped the ball and just went for the cage. It’s something we practice.”

Frohne’s fourth-quarter goal gave the nationally ranked Silver Warriors a 5-4 lead with 9:14 left, and Jared Franze and Steve D’Amario struck for goals in the closing minutes of another close call for the seven-time Section II champions.

“The end result is that the kids are taking care of business,” coach Mike Vorgang said after Niskay­una’s sixth win by three goals or less. “I’m proud of them.”

And Frohne, in particular.

“When teams are playing zone [def­ense] against you and playing ball-control offense, you’ve got to get a couple of trans­ition goals when you can,” Vorgang said. “For him [Frohne] to do what he did, to respond like that after a Colonie goal, that was obviously the biggest play of the game.”

“To have a senior do that on Senior Night is awesome,” said Niskayuna junior midfielder Dan McKinney, who had two goals and an assist. “He’s strong as a horse, and he’s fast. He stepped up.”

Colonie’s Garrett Dollard beat James Manchester on a rising, sidearm blast with 9:26 left to tie the game at four. Niskayuna’s Mike Hall won the ensuing faceoff, and Frohne did the rest, sending a low, close-range drive past Matt Hamilton 12 seconds later.

“I raked it to him and saw him head down the field,” Hall, a junior, said of Frohne. “I didn’t see the shot, but I heard it was a good one.”

Frohne, who will play at Division II Greensboro (N.C.) next year, had scored only one other time this season before his timely tally.

“That really did spark us,” said Hall. “It set the tone for the rest of the game. When he scored, right there, we said we’re going to score again.”

Franze notched his second goal to pad Niskayuna’s lead with 3:38 left, and D’Amario, who earlier had three assists, connected at the 1:41 mark as the Silver Warriors (10-0, 13-0) kept their record perfect. The Silver Warriors are one of seven unbeaten teams in the state.

“Sometimes, we click right away,” said Frohne. “In other games, it takes a while.”

Colonie (6-4, 8-4) came in with a five-game winning streak, and gave the nation’s No. 22-ranked team on the STX/Inside Lacrosse poll all it could handle.

“I think Colonie is a very underrated team. They’ve got some great players,” said McKinney. “They gave Guilderland trouble, too. They’re not an easy team to beat anymore.”

The Garnet Raiders trailed after the first quarter, 2-0, and at the half, 4-2, but Brian Sleasman’s scored a third-quarter goal before assisting on Dollard’s game-tying blast.

“Colonie came in at 8-3 for a

reason,” Vorgang said. “Hamilton did a great job, and they were pat­ient on offense.”

“There are a couple of teams in the section that are playing well,” Frohne said. “Colonie is right there, and so is Guilderland and Shenendehowa.”

Colonie had scored double-digit goals in six consecutive games before running into Niskayuna, which, with its rebuilt defense, has not allowed more nine goals in any contest. Niskayuna stymied 2007 state Class B finalist John Jay Saturday, 9-5, while also pinning down Massachusetts powerhouse Duxbury, 12-7, earlier in the season.

Manchester made eight saves, while sophomore close defenseman Ryan Alden excelled in front of his junior netminder. Hamilton finished with 11 saves, some of them superb, in a game in which the sophomore’s team was outshot, 34-14.

Colonie 0 2 1 1 — 4

Niskayuna 2 2 0 3 — 7

Colonie scoring: Garrett Dollard 2-1, D.J. O’Connell 1-1, Brian Sleasman 1-1. Niskayuna scoring: Dan McKinney 2-1, Will McPartlon 0-1, Mark Panneton 1-0, Steve D’Amario 1-3, Jared Franze 2-0, Zach Frohne 1-0.

Goalkeepers: Colonie, Matt Hamilton, 11 saves. Niskayuna, James Manchester, 8 saves.

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