Severe weather warnings prompted Niskayuna High School to dismiss students early on Tuesday and forced administrators to cancel the Silver Warriors’ lacrosse practice.
“We only had two days to practice for this game, and we put just half of our game plan in,” lamented veteran Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang.
Just think what the Silver Warriors could have accomplished with even more prep time.
Using a precise passing attack and relentless pressure on Minisink Valley goalkeeper Matt Bogdanski, Niskayuna advanced to the Class A regional championship game with a convincing 19-5 victory over their Section IX visitors Wednesday at Shenendehowa High School’s Brent T. Steuerwald Stadium.
The Silver Warriors (19-1), who reached regional play for the 11th time in school history, take on Mamaroneck of Section I at Clarkstown South Saturday. Minisink Valley finished at 18-2.
As usual, Niskayuna spread the wealth. Junior attack Luke Goldstock found the net six times, including several unique spinning shots and back-flip tallies. He added three assists. Fellow junior attack Lucas Maloney contributed five goals and one assist. Senior attack Matt Sexton fired in three goals with two assists, and Matt DiVietro registered three goals. Justin Picardi contributed two goals and an assist, while senior midfielder Tanner MacIvor had six assists.
Niskayuna keepers Evan Quinn and Troy Manchester were hardly tested.
Minisink Valley was led by Matt Owney with two goals and Jake Levins with one goal and three assists.
Two of Niskayuna’s scoring aces said missing practice was more troublesome to Vorgang than to many of the players.
“It was kind of strange coming into a game without practice the day before,” said Maloney. “But our coaching staff did a great job with their scouting report, and we knew the drills. Defensively, we knew exactly what their strengths were and how to stop them. Offensively, we don’t change our system very much, anyway.”
Maloney said being such a close-knit team makes the Silver Warriors hard to beat.
“We’ve got great team chemistry, and we hang out together quite a bit when we’re not playing,” he said. “We have a good feel for what the other players on the team are doing.”
“We’re a very close team,” added Goldstock. “We have a great bunch of guys. It was a little unusual not having practice on Tuesday, but it didn’t seem to matter much. I think our offense was clicking just the same.”
Vorgang said the Silver Warriors strength is passing the ball quickly and effectively.
“We do what we do on offense, and it’s true that we don’t change much at this stage of the season, but our guys are so used to everything we do by now. We have a lot of stuff going on in our offense, and we do change things, depending on who we play,” he said.
“The main thing is that we want to share the ball and let everybody do a little bit of the work. This is my 21st year, and I know that you’ve got to have some luck, and you have to stay healthy to have a chance at playing well this time of year.”
Vorgang admitted that the level of play of the Section IX representative wasn’t exactly competitive with his club, but he remembers when Section II teams were just starting to build their programs more than a decade ago.
“I think the teams from Section IX are really coming on, but it takes time,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for quite some time now, but we struggled against the other sections when we first started.”
John Countryman connected for five goals as Queensbury pounded Wallkill of Section IX, 18-3.
The Spartans (15-2) take on Yorktown at Clarkstown South Saturday night at 6 in the regional final.
Glens Falls held off Red Hook of Section IX, 9-7, and will play the winner of Section I’s title matchup between Hendrick Hudson and Bronxville Saturday at 1 p.m. at Clarkstown South.
Matt Girard scored three goals to pace the 14-6 Indians, who took a 9-3 lead before the Raiders rallied to make it interesting. Matt Parsons added two goals and four assists.
Onam Guerra led Red Hook (13-5) with five goals.
NISKAYUNA 19, MINISINK VALLEY 5
Minisink Valley 1 2 0 2 — 5
Niskayuna 7 6 3 3 — 19
Minisink Valley scoring: Scott Giraud 1-0, Matt Owney 2-0, Jake Levins 1-3, Joe Sessa 1-0. Niskayuna scoring: Lucas Maloney 5-1, Tanner MacIvor 0-6, Matt DiVietro 3-0, Luke Goldstock 6-3, Tyler Pantalone 0-2, Blake Pfohl 0-1, Matt Sexton 3-2, Justin Picardi
2-1, Samuel Kaplan 0-1.
Goalkeepers: Minisink Valley, Matt Bogdanski. Niskayuna, Evan Quinn, Troy Manchester.
QUEENSBURY 18, WALLKILL 3
Wallkill 0 1 1 1 — 3
Queensbury 5 6 4 3 — 18
Wallkill scoring: Miller 1-0, Keller 1-0, Hickey 1-0. Queensbury scoring: Countryman 5-2, Willows 4-1, Conway 2-0, Gryga 0-3, Orban 2-1, Kristell 1-1, Zulke 1-0, Be. Willows 1-2, Underhill 1-0, Zeitzman 0-1, Morrel 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Wallkill, Longinott, 15 saves. Queensbury, Coughlan, 2 saves; Metcalfe, 0 saves; Nolan, 1 save.
GLENS FALLS 9, RED HOOK 7
Red Hook 0 3 2 2 — 7
Glens Falls 3 4 2 0 — 9
Red Hook scoring: O. Guerra 5-1, Lee 1-0, Coons 1-1, T. Guerra 0-1. Glens Falls scoring: Matt Parsons 2-4, Matt Girard 3-1, Sopczyk 2-1, McGuirk 1-0, Spilman 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Red Hook, Loeffel, 5 saves. Glens Falls, Mender, 12 saves.