The Shenendehowa lacrosse team that led Section II in regular-season victories finally showed up for the playoffs, and Guilderland paid the price.
Tim Coll, Mike Jenkins and Mike Daly scored three times each, and the Plainsmen played shutout ball for nearly 18 minutes after the Dutchmen’s first goal in a 12-5 Class A semifinal win Saturday at Steuerwald Stadium.
“They’re good,” Guilderland assistant coach Kris Bremer said after the Dutchmen’s hopes for a title repeat were dashed. “They executed every aspect of the game.”
The top-seeded Plainsmen couldn’t say that after their performance in Wednesday night’s 8-7 quarterfinal win against eighth seed LaSalle.
“We had a lot of woulda, coulda, shoulda in that game, and it scared the heck out of us. It was a major wake-up call,” said Shenendehowa coach Chuck Holohan. “It’s not that we overlooked them. We just didn’t play very well.”
The Plainsmen (17-1) did Saturday, racing to a 5-1 first-quarter lead, and extending their advantage to 8-1 at the half en route to their first championship game since beating Niskayuna in 2004. The Plainsmen will meet Bethlehem Wednesday night at 7:30 at the University at Albany, after the Eagles knocked off Christian Brothers Academy, 8-6, in the other semifinal.
“It’s been so long since Shenendehowa has been there,” said Coll, a junior attackman. “We’re going to come out and give it our all. We’re going to come out swinging.”
Shenendehowa dealt a quick blow to Guilderland (No. 4, 11-7), and the Dutchmen never recovered. Brandon Connors scored 44 seconds in on a point-blank blast past Sean Klim, and Jenkins and Daly followed with goals. After Eugene Sellie answered for the Dutchmen, Jenkins and Daly connected again.
“In our last game we came out slow, and we didn’t play to our potential,” said junior Bobby Wardwell, Shenendehowa’s All-America goalkeeper, who made 13 saves. “Today, we came out and really stuck it. Everyone was really focused on passing and catching, and on defense, we communicated well. Better than the other night.”
“Our last two practices were probably the most intense we’ve had this year,” said Daly, a senior midfielder. “Coach got on us pretty good. We knew we had to come out strong.”
Mike Stephens, Coll and Daly scored second-quarter goals for the state’s No. 13-ranked team.
“They shot the lights out,” said Guilderland coach Sean McConaghy. “We thought we had the plan defensively, but when a kid shoots from 17 yards out and sticks it, it’s tough.”
Shenendehowa shot extremely well in thre first half, and ended up scoring its 12 goals on 34 shots.
“We were disappointed with our shooting against LaSalle,” said Holohan. “We worked hard on that. A couple of guys even stayed after practice both days to work on that.”
Shenendehowa ended each quarter with a scoring dagger. Jenkins delivered with 59 seconds left, and Daly scored with 28 seconds remaining in the opening period. Daly’s second-quarter goal came with 20 seconds to go, and a goal by Jenkins to end the third frame came with 59 seconds on the clock. That goal stretched Shenendehowa’s cushion to 11-3.
“They got us in this game last year [a 9-8 Guilderland win],” said Coll. “We came out with a lot of energy, and we kept it up.”
Guilderland couldn’t keep up with the offensive pace established by Shenendehowa. When Paul Jones opened the third-quarter scoring, it ended a drought of 17:52 for the Dutchmen.
“They have [Bryan] Dyer and Jones, and [Stephen] Polsinelli is future star. They have some really good shooters,” Holohan said of the Dutchmen. “Our goal was to keep their guys 10 yards out. Get on their hands and work them, and put pressure on the ball.”
Eagles make history
Erik Halek and Joe Drew opened the fourth-quarter scoring to give Bethlehem an 8-3 lead, and the Eagles (No. 3, 12-6) held off CBA (No. 2, 13-5) to earn their first title-game berth.
“It’s a huge win for our program. No doubt about it,” said Bethlehem coach Dave Rounds. “Going into the game, we knew there was a lot at stake, and the kids stepped up.”
Bethlehem never trailed after Pat Johnson scored in the first quarter, and Halek and Max Wagner scored in the second for a 3-0 advantage. Two third-quarter goals by Halek and another by Johnson pushed the Eagled lead to 6-2.
“Everyone has been jumping on us. That’s been our MO,” said CBA coach Tim Vivian, whose Brothers rallied from a 3-0 hole to beat Saratoga Springs in the quarterfinals. “I told the guys, ‘We can’t afford to get down early,’ and that’s just what happened.”
SHENENDEHOWA 12, GUILDERLAND 5
Guilderland 1 0 2 2 — 5
Shenendehowa 5 3 3 1 — 12
Guilderland scoring: Eugene Sellie 2-0,
Paul Jones 1-2, Patrick Wood 1-0, Bryan Dyer 0-2, Joshn Sommers 1-0, Tony Stanish 0-1. Shenendehowa scoring: Brandon Connors 1-0, Brian Powell 0-1, Mike Jenkins 3-1, Tim Coll 3-2, Mike Daly 3-0, Mike Stephens 2-0, Connor Arnold 0-1.
Goaltenders: Guilderland, Sean Klim, 10 saves; Christian DePersis, 0 saves. Shenendehowa, Bobby Wardwell, 13 saves; Keegan Woloss, 1 save.
BETHLEHEM 8, CBA 6
Bethlehem 1 2 3 2 — 8
CBA 0 2 1 3 — 6
Bethlehem scoring: Pat Johnson 2-0, Erik Halek 4-0, Max Wagner 1-0, Joe Drew 1-0. CBA scoring: Gregg Medici 1-1, Will Cassin 1-1, John Bassett 2-0, Pat Risler 0-1, Andy Jensen 1-0, Carter Sherman 1-1.
Goaltenders: Bethlehem, Theo Ferguson, 13 saves. CBA, Shane Hans, 13 saves.