By the halftime break, Thursday’s Section II Class B championship lacrosse game
between Niskayuna and Queensbury was all but over, the result of exquisite work on center draws and the Silver Warriors’ ability to cash in on their opportunities.
“Lacrosse is a game about possession,” Niskayuna sophomore Emily Ryan said after her team’s 18-6 triumph at the University at Albany. “If you have the ball, they can’t score. We knew if we kept control of the ball, we could rack up points. The score showed that.”
Kayla Treanor won 12 center draws in the first half, and Ryan delivered all four of her goals during the decisive 25-minute span as Niskayuna opened up an 11-4 lead against the first-time sectional finalists. The Silver Warriors hit cruise control in the second half, with Treanor notching their last two goals to put the finishing touches on a fourth consecutive championship.
“We couldn’t get enough possessions on offense to make a difference,” said Queensbury coach Rita Hawkins.
Niskayuna (No. 1 seed, 15-2) dominated possession time in the first half, and rattled off seven unanswered goals after Casey White opened the scoring for the Spartans. Another four-goal run by the state’s No. 7-ranked team made it 11-2.
“At any level, you’re going to have some nerves,” said Niskayuna coach Peter Melito. “We did, but from three minutes in, we played some very good lacrosse.”
Nine Silver Warriors ended up with points in a win that propelled them into the state regional finals a week from Saturday against Fox Lane (Section I, 17-2) at 6 p.m. at UAlbany. The Silver Warriors used Averill Park as a steppingstone
toward the state tournament the last three year before overwhelming the Foothills Council champion Spartans (No. 2, 14-4).
“This one is right up there with all of the other ones,” said Melito. “It’s a tribute to what the kids do every single day. They play year ‘round. Your commitment gets you to this point.”
Treanor got Niskayuna going in the direction of the Queensbury cage time and again with her first-half performance on center draws. Treanor won several draws on her own, while at other times, her teammates, led Amanda Welge and Ritchie Assini, swarmed for 50-50 balls to gain possession.
“If you have a kid who can win draws just about every time, you have a great chance to win the game,” Melito said of the sophomore midfielder, who added four goals and an assist. “Kayla is definitely one of the best in the state at it.”
“It was really important to win those draws,” Treanor said. “I had a pretty good day, but all of the girls helped out.”
Treanor tied the game with Niskayuna’s first goal, and afterward, Ryan clicked twice in an 11-second span. Ryan and Caleigh O’Brien fired in goals 11 seconds apart later in 7-0 run, which was capped by another goal by Treanor.
“We came out lightly,” said Treanor. “We were not as strong as we wanted to be. Maybe it was nerves, but we picked it up and didn’t stop.”
“Once we got the nerves out, we went for it,” said Ryan.
White scored her second goal to make it 7-2 before Alyssa Treanor, Ryan, Assini and Kelly Schlansker answered with goals.
Assini and Schlansker opened up the second-half scoring as Niskayuna’s advantage grew to 13-4.
“We have a strong team. We have a lot of diversity among our players,” said Ryan. “If someone gets shut off, we’ve got others who know how to score.”
Niskayuna’s only losses have come against Guilderland and Shaker. Guilderland defeated Shaker in Wednesday night’s Class A title game, 18-10, while Albany Academy for Girls won the Class C championship against Glens Falls, 15-7. Guilderland, like Niskayuna, has won four straight sectional banners.
“It any level, it’s hard to win a championship. But four in a row? That’s pretty impressive. It’s absolutely amazing,” Melito said. “Credit the girls.”
Queensbury won only two games last season.
“Our girls did a fantastic job. We had an awesome year,” said Hawkins, who got three goals from White. “To win the Foothills Council and get to this moment, I’m very happy.”
Queensbury 4 2 — 6
Niskayuna 11 7 — 18
Queensbury scoring: Casey White 3-0, Lexee Barber 1-0, Maggie Corbett 1-0, Jordana Mineo 0-1, Emily Petit 1-0. Niskayuna scoring: Alex Phillips 0-2, Caleigh O’Brien
2-0, Alyssa Treanor 2-3, Erin Down 1-0, Shannon Pfohl 1-2, E. Ryan 4-0, Schlansker 2-0, Ritchie Assini 2-0, Kayla Treanor 4-1.
Goaltenders: Queensbury, Kiersten Cutter, 7 saves. Niskayuna, Katie Tiscione,
7 saves; Austen Radcliff, 2 saves.