Niskayuna charges into state lacrosse finals

Niskayuna had two goals on the board before Sayville unleashed a shot in Thursday’s state Class B se

Niskayuna had two goals on the board before Sayville unleashed a shot in Thursday’s state Class B semifinal game at Middletown High School.

It was that kind of night for the streaking Silver Warriors.

Jared Franze and Mark Panneton scored those first two goals, Panneton added another before the opening period was through and Niskayuna soared to its second title game in program history with a 15-8 triumph over the Golden Flashes.

Franze, fellow All-American Dan McKinney and Panneton led Niskayuna with a combined 12 goals, including five off the stick of McKinney. The Georgetown-bound midfielder also had three assists in the highest-scoring semifinal outing ever for a Section II team.

“One more game,” said McKinney, who piled up a career-high seven goals in Tuesday’s 14-5 regional win over Somers. “I’m going to play my heart out. I’ll sacrifice my body. That’s how much it means to me.”

While Niskayuna (24-0) made its move in the second quarter Tuesday with a 6-1 run, the tone was set in the first 12 minutes Thursday night.

The Silver Warriors opened up a 6-2 lead with some great passes and sizzling line-drive shots, and took a 9-3 halftime advantage.

“Coach said they’re just as big as Somers, and they’re more skilled, so we couldn’t afford to start slow,” said Franze, after his three-goal, one-assist effort. “We had one opportunity, and we couldn’t waste it.”

Niskayuna will take on Canandaigua (Section V, 21-2) in Saturday’s state final at 4 p.m. at Rhino Stadium (formerly Paetec Park) in Rochester, marking the Silver Warriors’ fourth game in eight days.

Canandaigua eliminated Jamesville-DeWitt (Section III, 19-4) Thursday night, 12-6, in the other state semifinal at St. John Fisher.

“We’ve accomplished a lot of goals. We won the Suburban Council, the section, our regional and now this,” said Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang. “We’ll go over some things, implement a game plan and see if we can’t get one of these for Section II.”

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” said Franze, a Hartford-bound midfielder. “I haven’t even said it yet: We’re in the state championship.”

After McKinney gave Niskayuna a 3-0 lead, Dan Mellynchuk and Brendan Rogers answered for Sayville (Section XI, 15-6), and Panneton sandwiched two more goals around one by defenseman Steve Abba.

Abba raced the length of the field after a defensive strip, and bounced the ball past a stunned Mike Kaminski.

“We try to do that every time. We try to get out fast,” said McKinney. “We pretty much did that tonight, and it all worked out.”

Justin McKinney, Franze and Dan McKinney added second-quarter goals for the state sportswriters’ No. 1-ranked Class B team.

Dan McKinney scored twice, and Panneton and Guy Waltman connected in the third quarter to boost Niskayuna’s cushion to 13-4.

Filling in for James Manchester (chickenpox), Stefan Sloma made 13 saves in his second start between the pipes for the Silver Warriors.

“Defense is what we’re built around,” said Vorgang. “It’s a little disappointing that we gave up eight goals, but a win’s a win, at this point.”

Niskayuna improved to 2-1 in state semifinals, and won its second straight after taking down West Islip in a 2005 Class A contest before losing two days later to West Genesee.

Niskayuna’s 2000 edition was beaten in a Class B state semifinal by Garden City.

Sayville showed its frustration throughout the second half, and in the final three minutes, was called for six penalties.

Niskayuna 6 3 4 2 — 15

Sayville 2 1 3 2 —  8

Niskayuna scoring: Steve Abba 1-0, Mark Panneton 4-0, Jared Franze 3-1, Dan McKinney 5-3, Justin McKinney 1-1, Nolan Connors 0-2, Guy Waltman 1-0. Sayville scoring: Jon Bonacore 1-1, Charlie Podgurski 1-0, John Albergo 0-1, Dillon Boos 1-0, Dan Mellynchuk 3-1, Brendan Rogers 2-0.

Goalkeepers: Niskayuna, Stefan Sloma, 13 saves; Sayville, Mike Kaminski, 7 saves.

Categories: High School Sports

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