A number of former Section II stars and Capital Region natives will play for college lacrosse national championships on Sunday.
In each of Sunday’s three NCAA title games, area natives will compete. The men’s Division II and III championship games take place at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, while the women’s Division I championship game will be played at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Maryland. In the women’s Division I championship game at noon, Syracuse features several former Capital Region stars, including Niskayuna native Asa Goldstock as its starting goalie, while former Niskayuna High School — and Syracuse — star Kayla Treanor is the associate head coach for Boston College. Le Moyne, which includes a dozen former area stars, plays Lenoir-Rhyne in the Division II men’s final at 1 p.m., while Salisbury and RIT — which each feature one former Capital Region standout — meet at 4 p.m.
Hans Zimmer, a graduate student on Le Moyne who is from Ballston Spa, said the style of Section II lacrosse prepares players to compete in Le Moyne’s up-tempo system.
“The guys from our area really fit into that,” Zimmer said, “and we’re guys that know how to put our heads down and work.”
Former Schuylerville High School star Zach Pierce is the leading scorer among Le Moyne’s Section II contingent with seven goals and five assists on the year. Pierce had a goal and three assists last Sunday in the Dolphins’ semifinal win over Mercyhurst.
Siblings and former Guilderland High School stars Cara Quimby (Syracuse) and Connor Quimby (Le Moyne) are among the former Section II standouts competing Sunday, while Syracuse’s roster also has siblings within it with sisters Karen Gray and Lauren Gray (Shenendehowa). For Salisbury, Niskayuna High School graduate Eoghan Sweeney is proudly representing his “26 Win” family with the No. 26 he wears on his uniform. Head coach Mike Vorgang’s Niskayuna boys’ lacrosse program has long used “26 Win” as its motto and rallying cry, a reference to Eric Klosterman — one of the program’s first players — who wore No. 26 and died during his senior year of high school in April 1994.
“Being able to represent that number and him, it’s a really big thing to be able to do it and represent it well,” said Sweeney, who is one of Salisbury’s faceoff specialists. “That’s an awesome feeling.”
Sweeney is one of a variety of former Niskayuna players to wear No. 26 in college. That list of former Niskayuna players who wear the number also includes Le Moyne sophomore Nick Fraterrigo.
Salisbury lost its opening game this year, then won its next 17 heading into the championship game. Sweeney said the team’s focus, though, is all on winning one more game rather than winning an 18th in a row.
“It’s really all about making sure we’re dialed in and making sure we’re ready for this game,” said Sweeney, who starred as a high school wrestler in addition to lacrosse.
Zimmer said the same goes for Le Moyne, which is an undefeated 14-0 on the season.
“Obviously, an undefeated season is something to always talk about,” Zimmer said, “but, when there’s one game left, we just know we have to go out and win that one.”