Niskayuna boys’ soccer blanks Ballston Spa

Niskayuna's Jackson Beckman and Ballston Spa's Riley Box go after the ball Thursday.

Niskayuna's Jackson Beckman and Ballston Spa's Riley Box go after the ball Thursday.

NISKAYUNA — The energy level was different Thursday afternoon, and so was Niskayuna’s starting lineup and the offensive structure it employed.

It all added up to a 4-0 Section II Class AA first-round win for the Silver Warriors against a Ballston Spa group that had beaten them in a league game by the same exact score  less than a week ago.

Jackson Beckmann delivered Niskayuna’s initial goal in the first half after taking a pass from Evan Boyle, a team captain who had missed that setback against Ballston Spa while in COVID quarantine, and Thursday anchored his teams’ midfield cast that kept penetrations to a minimum.

“Not having Evan last week was huge,” Niskayuna coach Terrence Sloan said. “He owns a lot of the midfield for us. He’s a great leader. He’s the voice out there. He’s been teaching other kids as we go.”

Four Niskayuna kids accounted for the four goals, and a bunch of them led by Boyle joined to keep Ballston Spa at bay.

“I was fired up to play,” said Boyle, who, along with defenders Chi Lei and Sammy Murvane, serve as Niskayuna’s team captains. “I came out guns ablazing. If they were going to have chances, they weren’t going to be great chances.”

That Suburban Council loss at  Ballston Spa last Friday was Niskayuna’s only loss in its final five games to close out the regular season. That run included a 4-1 win Saturday over Averill Park that gave Niskayuna (No. 8 seed, 6-8-1) and its seniors one final home game instead of another matchup at Ballston Spa (No. 9 seed, 4-12-1).

“I’m happy that we were able to win our last home game,” Boyle said. “That’s really important. I’m really glad about that. Everyone had a real good game.”

Raghav Raj, Soren Borger and Christopher Torres scored the other goals for Niskayuna, and Eric Thurn made three saves in recording the shutout.

“A couple of things resonate with me,” Sloan said when asked what made the two games so different. “The other day we didn’t have that desire. Today there was a lot more at stake and it showed, and because we beat Averill Park, we got to play this game at home.”

Niskayuna also showed a different offensive look that paid off.

“We made a slight adjustment,” Sloan said. “We went with our usual 4-3-3, but instead of spreading out up front, we stayed compact. The other day we were so spread out and they were able to defend us better.”

“I thought we came in with a really good scheme and executed,” Boyle said.

Beckmann scored 22:31 into the contest after Boyle feigned a shot and slid the junior a pass.

“We had a lot of chances the last time. We had to score,” Beckmann said. “If we conceded the first goal, it would have been a different game.”

Raj scored in close 39 seconds into the second half on an assist from Samarbir Singh.

“They were broke by then,” Beckmann said. “That gave us a lot of confidence, and we kept pushing.”

Borger and Torres padded the Niskayuna lead 37 seconds apart midway through the second half.

Niskayuna kept close track of Noah Datka, who scored three goals in the Scotties’ 4-0 win.

“Our backs made sure we were communicating, and we put pressure on him when he got the ball,” Sloan said.

“It’s getting really difficult to play through us,” Boyle added.

Ballston Spa netminder Justin Miller made four of his five saves in the first half, including a diving stop and another on a point-blank rip to keep the score 1-0.

Niskayuna will play a quarterfinal game at Saratoga Springs (No. 1 seed, 13-0-1) Monday at 3 p.m. The Blue Steaks, ranked No. 3 on the New York State Sportswriters Association poll, won at Niskayuna 3-0 back on Sept. 22.

“It was 1-0 at the half and we certainly had our chances,” Sloan said. “It’s tournament time and a lot has to do with what team shows up and wants to win. If we show up ready to play we can compete with all of the other teams.”  


Halftime: Niskayuna led 1-0. Ballston Spa scoring: None. Niskayuna scoring: Beckmann 1-0, R. Raj 1-0, Borger 1-0, C. Torres 1-0, Boyle 0-1, Singh 0-1, R. Torres 0-1. Goalkeepers: Ballston Spa, Miller, 5 saves. Niskayuna, Thurn, 3 saves; Munn, 0 saves.







Categories: High School Sports, Sports, Sports

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