BURNT HILLS — The Niskayuna boys’ lacrosse team believes it has enough pieces to win the Section II Class A championships in a couple of weeks.
In Tuesday’s Suburban Council game against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, the Silver Warriors showed some of them off in a matchup of undefeated teams.
Notre Dame commit Brock Behrman scored seven goals, including two big ones in the fourth quarter, and Niskayuna kept Burnt Hills from going on a big run in an 18-14 win at Centennial Field. Niskayuna goalkeeper Tyler Carroll played a significant role in quelling the Burnt Hills offense with 16 saves, while Lucas Klokiw and Greyson Vorgang complemented Behrman with four and three goals, respectively.
“I was nervous coming into it,” said Carroll, a junior. “Then, I remembered we’re Niskayuna, and we’re not going to lose.”
Niskayuna did not, and pushed its record to 12-0, but the Silver Warriors had to pass a stiff test to remain unbeaten against the Spartans (11-1).
“We knew we had to match their intensity,” Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang said of Burnt Hills. “They played hard. They played smart. They’re well-coached.”
Burnt Hills never led in the game, but was never out of it until the final minutes, after one last flurry of action.
“I love our fight,” Burnt Hills coach Tom Schwan said. “We are a talented team back to front, but we couldn’t make that one play.”
Carroll had much to do with that, with several of his saves coming in close quarters and at the most timely moments.
“They didn’t give up,” Carroll, who made four saves in each period, said of the Spartans. “Their shots didn’t get easier. They got harder.”
Coach Vorgang had plenty of good things to say about the youngster, who switched from attack to goalkeeper during his freshman year.
“He won the goalie job, and he’s been a really pleasant surprise . . . because we didn’t know,” Mike Vorgang said. “Every time he’s out there, he impresses me considering his limited experience.”
“Their goalie had quite a night,” Schwan said.
Behrman starred at the other end of the field with 10 points in all, and the game’s most important goals that came back-to-back early in the fourth quarter and gave Niskayuna a 17-12 advantage with 6:01 left. Kevin Carney scored Burnt Hills’ final two goals, with a tally by Niskayuna’s Leo O’Brien in between them.
“That put the dagger in them,” Behrman said of his two clutch goals, both of them coming after runs from the back of the cage. “That gave us the sense that we were going to come out with a win.”
“Give credit to Niskayuna,” Schwan said. “Every time we got within two or three, they had an answer.”
Burnt Hills trailed 5-4 in the first quarter when Niskayuna put together the game’s longest run of four goals that included two off Behrman’s stick.
“He is one of the top players in the country and we expect him to be great every time he is on the field,” Mike Vorgang said of Behrman. “He was great, and it’s not just that [the 10 points]. It’s the ground balls, controlling the offense, knowing when to push it and knowing when to slow it down.”
JD Townsend paced the Burnt Hills offense with six goals, including a third-quarter tally that got his team within 14-12 with 3:19 left. Rocco Mareno played a huge role in Burnt Hills getting the ball with 23 faceoff wins.
“I thought it was a great game. It was a fun game,” Mike Vorgang said. “It was probably to our detriment to not slow it down a little more often, but I’m sure the fans enjoyed the up-and-down pace.”
Carney finished with four goals for Burnt Hills, which had prevailed in a matchup of unbeaten teams Saturday when it rallied from an early deficit to beat Ballston Spa 11-9.
The Section II postseason starts next week, but a rematch between Burnt Hills and Niskayuna won’t occur. Burnt Hills will compete in the Class B tournament, while Niskayuna — by school size, a Class B competitor — has elected to play up in the Class A tournament.
Niskayuna 9 2 4 3 — 18
Burnt Hills 5 2 5 2 — 14
Niskayuna scoring: Behrman 7-3, Klokiw 4-0, Vorgang 3-0, Williams 2-1, Carroll 1-0, O’Brien 1-0, Kerr 0-1. Burnt Hills scoring: Townsend 6-0, Carney 4-0, LaPietro 2-1, Swisher 0-3, Scalise 1-0, McClernan 1-0. Goalies: Niskayuna, Carroll, 16 saves. Burnt Hills, Manning, 7 saves.