SCHENECTADY — Niskayuna girls’ lacrosse used an early barrage of goals in order to beat Columbia in the Section II Class B semifinals at Union College’s Frank Bailey Field on Wednesday 14-6.
The Silver Warriors came out hot, scoring for the first time just over three minutes into the contest on a shot from Mary Kate Cestaro, and then scored three more times in the next seven minutes in order to make it 4-0 in the first 11 minutes of the contest.
They continued that trend later in the first half. After Columbia got on the board with 9:51 left in the first half Niskayuna got two quick ones in a span of 17 seconds on a second goal from Cestaro and a score from Ashlyn McPartlon, who scored four goals, matching with eighth grader Ava Roemer. The Silver Warriors held a 6-2 lead at halftime.
“It was really important. I think it kind of settled our nerves a little bit and we were able to take control of the game and play the game we always do instead of being rushed and scared,” McPartlon said.
The start of the second half was more of the same for Niskayuna as it scored three goals on shots from Emily Bateman, who scored a second goal later in the second half, as well as Natalie Zhu and Jackie Reffelt. This was a stretch in the second half where Niskayuna went on a 7-1 run in a span of 10:35.
“I think it’s just the way that this game went,” Niskayuna head coach Alexis Licht said. “We came up with the draws and we just work so well finding each other and quickly getting it into the goal. I think it was kind of one of those games but essentially that’s what we’d love to have happen, but it comes down to who’s winning the draw first.”
On top of Roemer’s four goals, she also added an assist. She scored two of the three goals as part of the Silver Warriors’ initial four.
“It was great. When we grab the momentum early it’s easier to bring it into the rest of the game with all of our effort,” Roemer said.
“Ashlyn brings a ton of experience. She’s a senior, she’s super composed, she sees everything, she understands the game, a great lacrosse IQ and she just works hard,” Licht said. “Ava, being an eighth grader she still has a ton to learn but she is super composed, fluid, she can move her body, she has great ball placement when she shoots. She has a really good sense of the game. It’s awesome to have them both out there together.”
Goalie Emma Batko made 11 saves for Niskayuna.
Columbia’s Kelly Hoxie had two goals, the lone Blue Devil to tally more than once. Kelsey Reagan, Julia Harbour, Kaelynn Stringer and Kaitlyn Bogucki all scored as well. Kayla Dougherty had 14 saves in net.
Niskayuna advances to the Class B title game, where it will face Queensbury on Friday in a matchup of the two top seeds in the bracket.
“It’s going to be exciting,” McPartlon said. “It’s definitely going to be a tough game, we just have to play our game.”
Halftime score: Niskayuna led 6-2. Columbia scoring: Hoxie 2-0, Reagan 1-0, Harbour 1-0, Stringer 1-0, Bogucki 1-0, Marra 0-1. Niskayuna scoring: Roemer 4-1, McPartlon 4-0, Cestaro 2-1, Bateman 2-0, Reffelt 1-1, Zhu 1-0, Rutnik 0-1. Goalies: Columbia, Dougherty 14 saves. Niskayuna, Batko, 11 saves.