Momentum swung toward Saratoga Springs quickly in Thursday’s lacrosse game against rival Shenendehowa.
By the time the Lady Plainsmen wrestled it back and started connecting, it was too late.
The Blue Streaks scored the first five goals, extended their lead with a second-half run and held on for a 9-6 win in a Suburban Council game pitting teams that have been playing each other for more than two decades.
“We were really fired up after losing to Shenendehowa the first time. We were pretty motivated,” said Blue Streaks senior captain Julia Sirianni. “It’s always a pretty big rivalry with Shen. This feels pretty good.”
Caroline Crandall and Emma Kern scored two goals apiece, Sirianni and MacKenzie Jones both had a goal and an assist and Stephanie Luce made seven saves as Saratoga (5-3, 6-4) won its second game in as many days, and avenged an early-season 8-7 loss to the Lady Plainsmen (6-3, 7-3).
“You’ve got to play with a little heart when you play your neighbor to the north,” said Saratoga coach Sue Hoffman. “There’s a long history there.”
Saratoga and Shenendehowa have been going at it since 1991 in the early days of the Capital District Women’s Lacrosse League, and in 1992 met in the first Section II Division I championship game won by the Blue Streaks. The latest chapter in one of the area’s richest rivalries saw the Blue Streaks build a 6-2 halftime lead and go up, 9-2, before Shenendehowa collected the final four goals in a frantic comeback bid.
“We started out flat, and Saratoga did a nice job of taking advantage of that,” said Shenendehowa coach Jennifer Sykes. “That five-goal lead ended up costing us at the end. The hole we dug, and we ran out of time to fill it.”
Sirianni and Isabella Wager scored on Saratoga’s first two possessions, and goals by Crandall, Briana Sirianni and Jones made it 5-0 with 11:31 left in the opening half. The margin could have been even greater, had it not been for Shenendehowa netminder Leah Hofgesang, who made three outstanding saves during the offensive push.
“This is our 10th game, and that’s the first time we’ve done that. We’ve been a second-half team,” said Hoffman. “They were ripping pumped for this game, and they came out very strong.”
Julia Sirianni scored 50 seconds into the game, and Wager made good on a free position attempt 1:56 in to begin the five-goal run.
“Once we got it up on offense, we were able to settle it, and we found cutters,” said Sirianni, a University at Albany-bound midfielder. “We were making good feeds. We were connecting and making plays.
“We were coming off a good win [Wednesday’s 12-4 victory over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake], and we carried that momentum into this game.”
Cassidy Clavet got Shenendehowa on the board with 8:55 left in the half, Crandall countered, and Kelly Wall delivered for the Lady Plainsmen with 23 seconds to go.
Two goals by Kern and another by Britta Moberg stretched Saratoga’s advantage to 9-2 with 11:13 remaining in the second half. Kristen Connors answered with a pair of goals for Shenendehowa, and Kylee Teague notched Shenendehowa’s last two, her second coming with 1:35 left.
“We woke up, eventually,” said Hofgesang, a senior. “We kept going. I don’t think we gave up.”
Sykes knows her team didn’t.
“I couldn’t be more pround of the kids’ effort,” she said. “They were fighting back. We just ran out of time.”
Hofgesang made nine saves, which included stops on two free position attempts by Saratoga in the middle of Shenendehowa’s late four-goal run. The netminder also denied Saratoga twice on free-position attempts and made another save on a point-blank drive during the Blue Streaks’ early offensive surge.
“She held us in there,” said Sykes. “She gave us a chance.”
“I thought both goalkeepers played well,” said Hoffman. “Stephanie was a little over 50 percent on her saves, and Leah was right at 50 percent. In high school ball, that’s good goalkeeping.”
Luce stopped a pair of free position shots by Shenendehowa, and also made a save with a second left in the opening half to keep the score at 6-2.
Shenendehowa built an 8-4 lead in the first game between the teams before Saratoga battled back.
Shenendehowa 2 4 — 6
Saratoga Springs 6 3 — 9
Shenendehowa scoring: Cassidy Clavet 1-0, Kelly Wall 1-0, Kristen Connors 2-0, Izzy Corcione 0-1, Kylee Teague 2-0. Saratoga Springs scoring: Julia Sirianni 1-1, Isabella Wager 1-0, Caroline Crandall 2-0, Briana Sirianni 1-0, MacKenzie Jones 1-1, Rebecca Kim 0-1, Emma Kern 2-0, Britta Moberg 1-0.
Goaltenders: Shenendehowa, Leah Hofgesang, 9 saves. Saratoga Springs, Stephanie Luce, 7 saves.
Categories: High School Sports