Inspired BH-BL defense bottles up Ballston Spa (with photo gallery)

In its first three years of varsity play, the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake boys’ lacrosse team picked u

In its first three years of varsity play, the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake boys’ lacrosse team picked up one Suburban Council win.

Now the Spartans have two.

Evan Nusbaum matched his season high with three goals, and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s improving defense turned in its finest effort this spring in a 4-2 North Division victory over Ballston Spa Tuesday afternoon.

“Our defense played amazing today, man-down especially,” said BH-BL senior goalkeeper Connor Nash. “We played hard and buckled down.”

Nash made six of his 13 saves in the middle quarters when the Spartans played shutout ball, and Nusbaum delivered his second and third goals during that stretch as the hosts opened up a 4-1 lead.

The third quarter included the ejection of BH-BL assistant coach Jason LaPietro for arguing a body check on one of the Spartans, and a superb man-down defensive stand that followed.

“We’re advancing defensively,” said first-year BH-BL coach Tom Schwan, whose team limited Scotia-Glenville to three goals in a non-league win Friday. “The biggest challenge is guys off the ball, and they keep getting better and better. That’s a real positive for us.”

“They were trying to hit the opposite guy,” said Nash. “Our slides were there.”

Burnt Hills (1-2 league, 3-3 overall) beat Bethlehem last season for the program’s first league win, and got its second by scoring just enough and shutting down a Ballston Spa (1-4, 2-4) team that put up 10 goals Friday in a triumph over Columbia.

Ballston Spa junior Troy Gargiulo tied Tuesday’s game at 1-1 on a man-up goal with 6:35 left in the first quarter, and the Scotties didn’t score again until Gargiulo connected with 4:59 remaining in the contest.

“They played great defense, fantastic,” said first-year Ballston Spa coach Joe Pollicino. “Tom is doing a great job with them. He has them intense. He has them playing hard.”

The Spartans played some of their finest defense after LaPietro’s ejection resulted in a five-minute penalty with 8:09 left in the third frame.

“I can’t say enough about our man-down. During those five minutes, they [Ballston Spa] only had two or three shots and Connor had to make one save,” said Schwan. “That juiced them up when coach [LaPietro] questioned the legality of the hit. The kids took that personally.”

Ballston Spa’s one-man advantage turned to two when Mike Russell was penalized a minute for slashing with 7:41 left in the third quarter.

“That was the turning point in the game, when they got the five-minute penalty and we didn’t score,” said Pollicino. “You’ve got to take advantage of those sit­uations, and we didn’t.

“We had a great opportunity, but you could tell we weren’t that confident catching the ball and moving the ball. We were a little tentative, but it will come. We’ve got a lot of lacrosse in front of us.”

A slashing penalty on Ballston Spa’s Carm Pascuito with 6:44 to go in the third quarter left the teams playing five-on-five, and Nusbaum beat Sean Marciano low for a 4-1 lead at 6:15.

All three of Nusbaum’s goals came on low drives, his first sailing through Marciano’s legs for a 2-1 lead with 28 seconds left in the opening frame.

“I was watching him [Marciano] in warmups, and he looked good stopping the high shots,” said Nusbaum, a junior midfielder. “It made sense to shoot low.”

Ballston Spa had only one shot reach Nash after Gaugiulo’s second goal, and the Springfield-bound netminder made a stick save. Nash received supported from a defensive group led by of Chase Godfrey, Ryan Kissane, Alex Stewart and Russell, who had a team-best five ground balls.

“They showed real composure. Not only during the five-minute penalty, but in the last couple of minutes, after they made it 4-2,” said Schwan. “I was really pleased with their play and their poise.”

Trevor Hiss scored BH-BL’s first goal before Gargiulo tied the contest, and Hiss assisted on Nusbaum’s first goal.

“The difference was they played better than us,” said Pollicino. “It was one of those days. The good things is we get another chance at them.”

Ballston Spa 1 0 0 1 — 2

BH-BL 2 1 1 0 — 4

Ballston Spa scoring: Troy Gargiulo 2-0, Jake Gargiulo 0-1. BH-BL scoring: Trevor Hiss 1-1, Evan Nusbaum 3-0, Alex Lewek 0-1.

Goalkeepers: Ballston Spa, Sean Marciano, 15 saves. BH-BL, Connor Nash, 13 saves.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

Leave a Reply