Girls’ lacrosse: Bison finish strong, earn SC North title, 10-7 (with photo gallery)

With a late flurry of goals, Shaker got the Suburban Council win it desired, and all the awards that

With a late flurry of goals, Shaker got the Suburban Council win it desired, and all the awards that came with it.

“To come out on top in a hard-fought game like this, it’s certainly a confidence-builder,” Blue Bison lacrosse coach Courtney Hill said after Friday’s 10-7 victory against Niskayuna. “We wanted to leave on a high note. This is exactly how we wanted to end our season.”

Kait Cheney and Julia Lennon scored two goals apiece after Niskayuna had drawn even at 6-6, and Shaker went on to secure both the league’s North Division championship and the No. 2 seed for the upcoming Section II Class A tournament.

Shaker (13-1, 13-1) will take an eight-game winning streak into the sectionals, which also includes last month’s 7-5 triumph over the Silver Warriors (11-3, 11-4).

“With Niskayuna, it’s always been like this, back and forth,” said Cheney, a senior midfielder who notched all three of her goals in the second half. “There’s good lacrosse on both sides, and they bring out the best in us.”

Shaker was at its best after Niskayuna created the game’s fourth tie on Kayla Treanor’s free-position goal with 10:39 left. Cheney answered 16 seconds later to begin Shaker’s closing 4-1 run.

“At the end of the game, we knew possession would be crucial,” said Hill. “We kept switching it up on our draws, came up with some good 50-50 balls, and we knew what plays we could score with.”

Shaker scored early in the contest with three unanswered goals, and again late with the game in the balance to take the matchup between state-ranked teams. Lauren Smith tallied three goals and Anne Morrison made 15 saves for Shaker, and Treanor paced Niskayuna with five goals, three of them coming in the second half.

“Down the stretch, we’ve got to do a better job of executing. We’ve got to know when to drive. We’ve got to know when to shoot. We’ve got to know when to pull it out,” said Niskayuna coach Peter Melito. “The little stuff, we have to do it more consistently.”

Niskayuna did everything right late last season, when it strung together three sectional victories and captured the Class A flag. During the tournament, Niskayuna avenged a pair of losses to Shaker with a 7-6 semifinal win and avenged a setback against Guilderland with a 15-14 triumph in the large-school title game.

Niskayuna will be the No. 3 sectional seed this year, with South Division winner Guilderland (14-0, 16-0) at No. 1. Niskayuna needed to win Friday’s game by three goals to gain the No. 2 seed.

“We were looking at this scenario last year. We lost to Shaker twice and lost to Guilderland, and then we beat both of them in the sectionals,” said Melito. “Will it play out like last year? That’s up to us to decide.”

Lennon all but decided Friday’s game on a free-position goal with 6:39 left and a breakaway goal with 2:17 to go, countering Treanor’s final tally. Cheney notched her back-to-back goals from close range at the 10:23 and 8:29 marks after handling crisp feeds from Anne Rehfuss.

“That’s pure lax IQ,” Hill said of the Rehfuss-to-Cheney connections. “That’s having the ability to know where your teammate is and getting them the ball, and catching the ball and placing it where it can’t be stopped.”

“When they were open, they found their cutters,” said Melito. “They capitalized on our mistakes better than we capitalized on theirs.”

Niskayuna did have some stretches of excellent play. One of them came in a 39-second sequence when Treanor turned an Emily Ryan feed into a goal, Cat Sexton made good on a free position attempt, and Treanor completed a fastbreak to knot the game at three with 9:30 left in the first half.

Sexton scored five minutes later and a goal by Smith inside the final minute left the teams even at the break.

“They’re great at setting the tempo,” Treanor, a senior midfielder, said of the Blue Bison. “They’re a great first-half team, but we’re a team that never gives up.”

Treanor opened the second-half scoring, and Cheney and Smith answered before the Syracuse-bound All-American delivered again for Niskayuna.

“Last year, we beat them twice in the regular season and then we flubbed up in the sectionals,” said Hill. “We had an agenda. We wanted to win this game.”

“This is one more building block for us,” sad Cheney.

Niskayuna played the game without All-American midfielder Ritchie Assini, who sustained season-ending knee injury last week.

“She’s a great all-around player. It’s a huge loss for us on offense, defense and at the midfield,” said Treanor. “It’s tough not having her out there.”

“Ritchie is such a big part of our team,” said Melito. “She’s done a great job of pushing the other players and mentoring them, but at the end of the day, other people have to get on the field step up.”

Niskayuna 4 3 —  7

Shaker 4 6 — 10

Niskayuna scoring: Kayla Treanor 5-0,

Emily Ryan 0-1, Cat Sexton 2-1. Shaker scoring: Anne Rehfuss 1-2, Lauren Smith 3-0, Sarah Cheney 1-0, Julia Lennon 2-1, Kait Cheney 3-0.

Goaltenders: Niskayuna, Asa Goldstock, 5 saves. Shaker, Anne Morrison, 15 saves.

Categories: High School Sports

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