Niskayuna bows in Class B lacrosse final

You can’t score if you don’t have the ball. The Niskayuna lacrosse team ran into that dilemma Saturd

You can’t score if you don’t have the ball.

The Niskayuna lacrosse team ran into that dilemma Saturday and saw its quest to make Section II history dashed by Canandaigua at Marina Auto Stadium.

The Braves won most of the faceoff and groundball battles, ran a settled offense for long stretches and made good on just enough shots in dealing the Silver Warriors their first loss of the season, 10-5, in the state Class B championship game.

Niskayuna scored the first two goals in the opening 44 seconds, and Canandaigua played keepaway after that as it built a 5-2 halftime lead before extending its advantage to 8-4 after three quarters.

The state title was the first for Canandaigua (22-2), and only the second for a Section V team.

“We did great all season. Today, we didn’t play the way we usually do,” said All-American midfielder Dan McKinney, who was held to one goal after scoring 12 in Niskay­una’s previous two games. “You can’t beat a team like that when you don’t play your best.”

Niskayuna (24-1) was attempting to become Section II’s first state champion in its second title-game appearance, with its first resulting in a 15-2 loss to West Genesee in 2005. Fairfield-bound midfielder Marshall Johnson had plenty to do with the second defeat, winning 14 of 19 faceoffs, scooping up 11 grounds balls, scoring three goals and assisting on another in gaining game most valuable player honors.

“It’s disappointing. No doubt about it,” said Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang, whose Silver Warriors came in with a No. 1 state ranking; Canandaigua was No. 3. “I feel awful for the seniors. For this team. It’s not too often you get an opportunity like this . . . It’s really hard to watch someone else celebrate.”

Niskayuna was in high spirits after Guy Waltman connected 36 seconds into the game, and Ryan Alden beat Nick King eight seconds after that.

“We put in two quick ones on them, and I’m thinking, ‘We could do this,’ ” said Alden, a junior longstick midfielder. “Then they stuck a few in quick, and it was, ‘Now we’ve got a game. They’re going to test us.’ ”

Alden scooped the ball at the midfield line after Mike Hall got the best of Johnson on a facoff, and Alden ran into the offensive zone and fired high to beat Braves goalie Nick King.

Niskayuna didn’t score again until Jared Franze tallied with 10:01 left in the third quarter, ending a dry spell of over 25 minutes.

“When we got up I was thinking just keep it going. Keep winning faceoffs and keep getting ground balls. That didn’t happen,” said Vorgang. “Our best shooters also put seven or eight shots on their goalie’s stick. When you do that, and don’t do the other things, you can’t win a game like this.”

Canandaigua held the advantage in ground balls (36-18) and shots (31-23), and of King’s 13 saves, several were spectacular. The junior netminder was selected the game’s outstanding defensive player.

“It’s tough to see the seniors go out like this,” said Alden. “This is the best team I’ve ever been a part of in terms of lacrosse ability and having fun with the guys. It’s tough to see it end like this.”

It took Gannon Osborn eight seconds to answer Alden’s goal, and Canandaigua, with its patient sets, tacked on four more before the half was through.

“It didn’t affect our offense. It affected the game of lacrosse,” Vorgang said of Canandaigua’s slowdown approach. “It’s called the fastest game on two feet for a reason. They call it patient. I call it something else, but they were allowed to do it by the officials.”

Mark Panneton scored a third-quarter goal for Niskayuna to make it 7-4, and McKinney’s goal created the final margin with 2:26 to play.

“I feel sorry for the seniors, to lose on such a big stage,” said Mc­Kinney, a four-year varsity performer who will play for Georgetown next year. “We tried to bring a title to Section II, and we didn’t get it.”

Niskayuna had reached double-digit goals in nine straight games leading up to the final, and in 19 games in all. That offensive success included 15 goals against Sayville in the state semifinals, 14 against Somers in the state quarterfinals, and 20 before that against Saug­erties.

“Give credit to their defense, and on offense, they moved the ball well,” said Alden. “What it comes down to is they made the plays they had to make, and we didn’t.”

Niskayuna was the state’s last unbeaten team heading into the contest. Its 24 wins are a program record.

“We picked the wrong day to not click,” said Vorgang.

Niskayuna 2 0 2 1 — 5

Canandaigua 3 2 3 2 — 10

Niskayuna scoring: Guy Waltman 1-0, Ryan Alden 1-0, Jared Franze 1-1, Mark Panneton 1-1, Dan McKinney 1-0. Canandaigua scoring: Marshall Johnson 3-1, Will Johnson 1-0, Deven Alves 1-2, Gannon Osborn 1-0, Tom Lacrosse 1-0, Brandon Thomson 1-0, Brian Scheetz 2-1, Tanner Scharr 0-1.

Goalkeepers: Niskayuna, Stefan Sloma, 6 saves. Canandaigua, Nick King, 13 saves.

Categories: High School Sports

Leave a Reply