The last time the Niskayuna girls’ lacrosse team found itself in a tie game, the goal it wanted so badly never materialized.
“To have it end like that last year was so disappointing,” junior Marisa DiVietro said of the Silver Warriors’ 9-8 triple-overtime loss to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the 2014 Section II Class B title game. “To have it not go our way, it was really sad. We’ve tried to erase that. We’re moving on.”
Niskayuna had a much different result in its season opener Friday, pulling away after Saratoga Springs pulled even in a 13-6 Suburban Council triumph at Union College’s College Park Field.
Three consecutive second-half goals by the Blue Streaks made it a 6-6 contest, and the Silver Warriors’ seven-goal response included three by DiVietro and two by Erin Doyle.
Doyle finished with four goals and an assist, and Cat Sexton had three goals and two assists to lead five Niskayuna players with multiple points.
“Momentum had gone the other way. They [Saratoga] did a nice job climbing out of a hole,” said second-year Niskayuna coach Jason Bach. “We did a nice job of getting momentum back.”
The game matched two of the Suburban Council’s more experienced teams, with Saratoga showing 18 varsity returnees and Niskayuna showing 13. The Blue Streaks displayed their veteranship when Hanna Wise, Amanda Flemming and Molly Kern delivered in a quick spree to knot the game at 6-6, and the Silver Warriors displayed theirs afterward.
“None of us got down. No one said, ‘It’s your fault,’ ” said Niskayuna junior goalkeeper Maya Manchester, one of the holdovers, but a first-year starter. “We just all got mad.”
“We had to do something,” said DiVietro. “We came together and took it to them.”
Niskayuna took an 8-6 second-half lead in that game with Burnt Hills last May, only to be denied what would have been a sixth sectional title since 2007.
“It was tough,” said Manchester. “On the first day of practice, coach brought that up. It’s not about going to that field. It’s about going on to another field after that.”
“We want to win the section,” said the speedy DiVietro, who had an assist to go with her three second-half goals. “To do that, we’ve got to get better and better.”
“We have to play as a group, distribute the ball and work hard in practice every day. Being my second year, they understand my expectations,” said the former Schenectady coach. “If we do those things, I think we’ll be very competitive.”
Niskayuna was real good down the stretch Friday, pouring it on following Kern’s tying goal on a free position with 17:47 left. Doyle broke the tie 26 seconds later, and soon after, DiVietro scored man-up goals 21 seconds apart when Olivia Lehane was yellow-carded and sent off for dangerous play.
Another Doyle goal made it 10-6, and Sexton, DiVietro and Bri Sacks completed the run.
“We pushed and never gave up. We had a nice fire lit, and then we lost momentum,” said second-year Saratoga coach Kelsey Allen. “We had a couple of turnovers and Niskayuna, they’re such a great team, they capitalized.”
“We had that timeout and discussed what we needed to tweak on the defensive side and how we wanted to execute on the offensive side,” said Bach.
Manchester stopped two free position bids by Saratoga late in the game to finish off an 11-save effort. The 11th-grader also made impressive stops late in the first half and early in the second to help Niskayuna hold a 5-3 lead.
“A lot of nerves. What’s the game going to be like?,” said Manchester. “Once you get that first save, you settle down.”
Manchester has taken over for junior Asa Goldstock, a Syracuse University commit and three-year Niskayuna starter who has moved to New Hampton School in New Hampshire.
“I knew she [Manchester] would step up,” said DiVietro. “She’s the rock of our team.”
Bach said Alexa Franze helped turn the game in Niskayuna’s direction with her work on center draws.
“We won 40 percent in the first half. Sixty precent in the second half,” he said. “That’s more possessions.”
Kern led Saratoga with three goals and an assist, and Hannah Wendell made 12 saves, two on free positions.
Saratoga Springs 3 3 — 6
Niskayuna 5 8 — 13
Saratoga Springs scoring: Molly Kern 3-1, Hanna Wise 2-0, Nicala Sirianni 0-1, Amanda Flemming 1-0. Niskayuna scoring: Marisa DiVietro 3-1, Erin Doyle 4-1, Alexa Franze 1-1, Ellie Petraccione 0-1, Bri Sacks 2-2, Cat Sexton 3-2.
Goalkeepers: Saratoga Springs, Hannah Wendell, 12 saves. Niskayuna, Maya Manchester, 11 saves.
Categories: High School Sports