NISKAYUNA — Greyson Vorgang and Tanner Williams have grown up together on the lacrosse field.
With each of their fathers coaching the Niskayuna boys’ lacrosse team, when Vorgang and Williams weren’t playing lacrosse themselves, they were on the sidelines.
“He’s always been there. It was always me and Tanner,” said Greyson Vorgang. “We were always throwing the ball around or shooting on the goal or getting into trouble somewhere.”
“I wasn’t really a ballboy,” Greyson Vorgang added. “That’s what everyone thought I was, but I really was just there hanging out with the guys, on the sidelines and on the bus.”
The two have vivid memories of the 2015 team’s state championship run, having been around for every step of the journey, which culminated with a 13-10 victory over West Genesee on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Vestal High School.
“Those two guys have been on the sidelines for a lot of wins and for some losses as well,” said Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang. “They’ve been at every practice, and they’ve heard the things that the coaches and I have been saying for years. They’ve been around this program longer than anybody.”
“I remember that day on the bus, everyone locked it,” Greyson Vorgang said of the 2015 state championship game. “You could hear a pin drop.”
“I remember getting in on those dog piles after each win. The bus rides home were full of yelling and screaming and a lot of good times,” Williams recalled, whose father PJ is an assistant coach. “It’s a feeling that, once you experience it, you want to get it again. We’ve been chasing that feeling since 2015 and now we’re so close.”
The Silver Warriors are two games away from reaching that mountain top once again, as they’re slated to compete in the NYSPHSAA Class B semifinal against Section 8’s Garden City on Wednesday at UAlbany.
“Our expectation is to win, but that’s a really good team over there in Garden City; one of the best teams in the state,” said Greyson Vorgang. “They’ve got a ton of Division 1 talent, good coaches and they’ve been there pretty often.”
“We know they’re going to play slower, that they’re big and physical,” he added. “It’s going to take all we’ve got.”
While Vorgang will head off to play lacrosse at Denver, Williams is currently a junior and still has one season left as a Silver Warrior.
“I’ve been with Greyson and Coach Vorgang my whole life,” Williams said. “It’d mean a lot to me to see everyone on this team, every senior who I’ve been with this whole time, go out with a win.”
Going out with a win is much easier said than done. Once you get to the section and state playoff part of the season, there is only one team in each classification that ends its season with a win.
“It’s not something that you can accomplish just during the season,” Williams said. “You have to put in the work all year so you can win during the season.”
“First you have to play well, you have to stay healthy and you’ve got to get some calls,” said Mike Vorgang. “One little call either way could change a team’s momentum at the drop of a hat. One mistake can put the other team on a run. It’s really about playing well, and getting lucky.”
While there are certainly elements outside a player’s and coach’s control that play into the outcome of a game, for Greyson Vorgang, part of it is about pride — about playing for the name on the back of his jersey.
“I don’t like disappointing him,” Greyson Vorgang said of his father. “In a way, I feel like everything I do in this sport is for him. I think I reflect upon him and he’s one of the best coaches ever.”
“Growing up here, there was always a really high bar and expectation for this program,” Williams added. “I’ve always been trying to meet that and exceed it.”
Mike Vorgang used the word “osmosis” when describing the impact his lacrosse program has had on his son, and Williams.
“We talk a lot about what you do when nobody is watching,” Mike Vorgang said. “I’ll walk out here to the turf and Greyson will be out here shooting by himself. The reality is, the two hours of practice we have isn’t enough. It’s all the other things, on their own, that are going to be the difference.”
While there are certainly high hopes between the Vorgangs that this season has a special ending, don’t expect Coach Vorgang to head off to Colorado with his son.
He’s staying put in Niskayuna.
“I’m going to be coaching next year, for sure,” Mike Vorgang said. “I’ve got a job to finish.”
As for Greyson and Tanner, they’re hoping to create one last memory together, to go along with all their mischievous ways, hanging around the team during their elementary school years.
“We’d throw the balls on the field, slash players in the shins with our sticks; one time we got in huge trouble, we were wrestling on the sideline during the game,” Greyson Vorgang recalled. “My Dad got really mad, so we couldn’t be on the sideline at the same time for a few games. It’s pretty funny looking back on it.”
“For Greyson and all his friends to make it this far, it’s a gift,” Mike Vorgang said of being in the Class B semifinals. “Nobody else is here; it’s just us. To win that sectional championship and then a regional title, it’s a very special thing that I’m proud this group was able to accomplish.”