Niskayuna turns back upstart Shaker, 8-4

Niskayuna is still the top boys’ lacrosse team in Section II, but its fourth straight Class A champi
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Niskayuna is still the top boys’ lacrosse team in Section II, but its fourth straight Class A championship-game victory didn’t come without some anxious moments.

Trailing early and tied late in the third quarter, Niskayuna strung together five straight goals to finally subdue tournament upstart Shaker in an 8-4 win Friday night at Ned Harkness Field.

“We had them for a little while there. Then they did what good teams do,” coach Shawn Hennessey said after Shaker was denied its fourth sectional win over a higher seed. “They closed the door. They played defense, and they got the key gound balls.”

Niskayuna (No. 1 seed, 21-0) got two big goals in the final half minute of the third quarter from underclassmen Jared Franze and Mark Panneton, and three more goals in the fourth put the finishing touches on its eighth sectional title 15 years.

“Their goalie made some great saves,” said Panneton, a sophomore attackman who had three goals and an assist. “Once we found our nitch, we went on a little run.

“I thought the two goals at the end of the third quarter were a big momentum booster heading into the fourth quarter.”

Will McPartlon, Dan McKinney and Franze accounted for those goals as Niskayuna’s lead grew to 8-3. Franze and McKinney both finished two goals to back another solid showing by netminder James Manchester and the Niskayuna defense.

“They had the ball a ton,” Franze, a junior midfielder, said of Shaker’s ball-control approach. “Once we started to get it more, we got it to work.”

While Niskayuna had its way with Columbia and Colonie in its first two tournament games, the title victory was a struggle, coming against a Shaker (No. 10, 6-15) contingent that had previously beaten the No. 3, 2 and 7 seeds in Shenendehowa, Guilderland and Schenectady.

“They did a great job. Their coaches had a great game plan,” said Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang. “They held the ball, and their goalie came up big. Awseme job on their part.”

Yet, despite their efforts and desire, the Blue Bison could not stop Niskayuna’s charge to another sectional banner.

“This is great for these guys,” Vorgang said. “A lot of them are guys who watched from the sideline last year. They were leaders on the field tonight.”

Franze and Panneton were among them, delivering their clutch goals after Shaker had tied the game at 3-3 on tallies by Joe Shields and Parker Armsby.

“I had taken a few shots earlier in the game and coach said, ‘Come on, we need a goal,’ ” Franze recalled. “He said we had to have one.”

Franze took a feed from Seth Berggren and beat Shaker netminder Ken O’Connor from close range with 23.6 seconds left to break the third-quarter tie. Panneton connected with 2.9 seconds to go, scooping up a loose ball and delivering point-blank after O’Connor turned aside a shot by Steve D’Amario.

“Steve made a good dodge and hit their goalie,” Panneton said. “I little bit of it was being in the right place at the right time.”

“Going up by two, that was a huge momentum swing,” Vorgang said. “We had good opportunities when we had the ball, but the difference in that situation is we cap­italized.”

D’Amario was limited to one assist after the All-American attacker piled up seven goals and four assists in Tuesday’s 14-4 win against Colonie. His assist Friday came on Franze’s clinching, man-up goal with 3:32 to play.

“Mike [Battaglia] played well on him. Unfortunately, when we slid to give Mike help, that opened the back side, and they got a couple of goals on us that way,” said Hennessey. “He [D’Amario] didn’t have a lot of points, but her certainly had an impact on the game.”

Niskayuna will met either

Yorktown (Section I, 18-3) or Valley Central (Section IX) Tuesday in a state quarterfinal game at a site to be determined.

Shaker 1 0 2 1 — 4

Niskayuna 1 1 3 3 — 8

Shaker scoring: Luke Walsh 0-1, Parker Armsby 1-0, Joe Shields 3-0, Mike Gifford 0-1. Niskayuna scoring: Steve Abba 0-1, Mark Panneton 3-1, Jared Franze 2-0, Dan McKinney 2-1, Seth Berggren 0-1, Will McPartlon 1-0, Steve D’Amario 0-1.

Goalkeepers: Shaker, Ken O’Conn0r, 6 saves. Niskayuna, James Manchester, 8 saves.

CLASS B

South Glens Falls put together a four-goal run in the second quarter to break a 3-3 tie, and went on to claim its first sectional banner with a 13-5 victory over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s second-year varsity.

Mark Leeson and Adam Barber scored two goals apiece in the key second quarter, and Leeson, a junior attackman, finished with seven goals and two assists to spearhead the Bulldogs (9-8). Jun­ior midfielders Mike Eddy and Ian Schwan notched two goals apiece for BH-BL (4-17), which reached the final with a 9-5 upset of top-seeded Scotia-Glenville and a 15-5 rout of Amsterdam before that.

Schwan’s second goal gave Burnt Hills a 3-2 lead with 6:38 left in the opening frame. Leeson answered before the quarter was through, and Barber gave the Bulldogs leads of 4-3 and 6-3 in the next quarter.

“We won a faceoff and passed the ball right to the other team, and they scored,” BH-BL coach Paul

Fedoroff said of the second quarter. “On their second goal, we were a man down. We started to hand them the game.”

Showing only four seasons, Burnt Hills beat Schuylerille and Greenwich during the regular season before reaching its first sectional final.

“Last year, we got to the semi­finals. This year, we made it here,” Fedoroff said. “It’s a progression. Next year, maybe we’ll go one step farther.”

Burnt Hills 3 0 1 1 — 5

South Glens Falls 3 4 2 4 — 13

Burnt Hills scoring: Mike Eddy 2-0, Ian Schwan 2-0, Alex Stewart 0-1, Shawn Nash 1-0. SGF scoring: Chris Lee 2-1, Tim Howe 0-1, Mark Leeson 7-2, Chris Mack 0-2, Adam Barber 3-0, Andrew Leege 1-3.

Goalkeepers: Burnt Hills, Connor Nash, saves. SGF, Scott Morgan, saves.

CLASS C

Kevin Hunt had a hand in 13 goals, and Johnstown used a couple of key spurts to beat Schuylerville’s first-year varsity, 17-14, in Section II’s highest-scoring Class C final on record.

“I expected them to be tough,” Johnstown coach Eric Laughen said of the Black Horses, who held a 9-8 lead late in the second quarter. “I didn’t want them to be this tough.”

Hunt scored five goals and assisted on eight in leading Johnstown to its second straight title. The senior attackman assisted on two goals by John Roth and scored himself in a 4-0 run that gave the Sir Bills a 16-11 lead early in the final quarter.

“I’ve got to give credit to the guys around me,” said Hunt, who’ll play next year at Division II St.

Michael’s (Vt.). “They were moving well off the ball to get open, and they were getting me the ball when I got open.”

Schuylerville 5 4 2 3 — 14

Johnstown 5 6 4 2 — 17

Schuylerville scoring: Sam Adler 1-1, Colton Barber 7-0, Anthony Casimano 3-2, Dave Ferris 0-2, Sean Jason 1-1, Chris Wasacz 1-0, Andrew Ventre 0-1, Jake Zakrzewski 1-0. Johnstown scoring: Steve Gifford 1-2, Kevin Hunt 5-8, John Roth 6-0, David Sagan 5-2, Phil Satterlee 0-1.

Goalkeepers: Schuylerville, J.P. Gove, 18 saves. Johnstown, Scott Ford, 17 saves.

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