Applying offensive pressure was a key to Niskayuna’s history-making field hockey season, and Carrie Hanks and Alexa Angerami time and again were the ones driving the ball toward the opposing team’s cage.
“Those two players were so consistent for us,” Niskayuna coach Alison Broomhead said of the all-state selections. “They were so powerful from the midfield.”
Hanks, a junior, and Angerami, a senior, were among the Section II players recently honored by the New York State Field Hockey Association after helping the Silver Wariors reach the state semifinals for the first time while tying a school record for wins (17-3).
The last all-stater from Niskayuna was midfielder Lindsay Mayo, who was tabbed in both 2008 and 2009.
Hanks was outstanding with her open-field meneuvers and as a finisher inside the circle, collecting 11 goals and seven assists.
“All of the players looked to her to start something. She was always pushing so we could get the ball in the circle,” Broomhead said of the under-17 national team member and three-year varsity performer. “She controlled play with speed and aggression.”
Hanks scored the clinching second-half goal when Niskayuna beat Suffern in the Class A regionals, 2-0, and assisted on Anna Torri’s overtime game-winning goal when the Silver Warriors edged Shenendehowa in the Section II final, 1-0.
“She has a really strong shot,” Broomhead said. “Her signature move is to pull it to the right to beat a defender, and then she’ll unleash a rocket. And it’s precise.”
Angerami’s grinding effort often set up scoring opportunities for her teammates.
“She was able to get the ball in the circle. She initiated the scoring,” said Broomhead. “She’s the kind of player who will fight through any obstacle for 60 minutes.”
Angerami scored her only goal of the season in Niskayuna’s 3-2 state semifinal loss to Liverpool. Gabby Litz also scored her first goal of the season in that game, which ended in overtime strokes.
“Field hockey is more than just scoring goals,” said Broomhead, who saw Angerami, a three-year varsity veteran, pick up two assists to go with her goal. “Alexa sees the whole field and sees beyond the next play. She makes things happen.”
Both midfielders were named to the Suburban Council first team before their all-state nods. Angerami was also selected to the state tournament all-star team, and Hanks was cited for her sportsmanship at the Class A final four event.
Johnstown seniors Ashley Dona and Emma Heroth were also selected to the all-state team.
Dona not only set a Johnstown record with her 39 goals this season, but a Foothills Council record, as well. The senior center forward also had eight assists in leading the Lady Bills (17-2) to an unbeaten league championship, and second place in the Section II Class B tournament.
Dona scored 29 goals as a junior when Johnstown claimed the Class B title. With her 39 goals this year and 68 total, she topped the school records held by Kayla May, who, as a senior in 2005, notched 38 goals and finished with 65.
“Ashley is a pure finisher,” said Johnstown coach Tracy Ringer. “Once inside the circle, her instincts for finding the back of the cage are second to none.”
Dona scored Johnstown’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the Class B title game. She had two goals when the Lady Bills topped Glens Falls in the 2011 sectional final, 4-2.
Dona amassed 80 goals in five varsity seasons, scoring 12 while competing at Gloversville in 2010, 2009 and 2008. She is a two-time Foothills Council first-team all-star.
Heroth was sensational in her third varsity season, pushing the ball with great skill and scoring 15 goals and assisting on 12 more. Heroth scored two goals when Johnstown beat Glens Falls, 3-0, in this year’s sectional semifinals.
“The ease in which she works the ball down the left side of the field is astounding. That’s normally a team’s weak side,” Ringer said of the senior forward. “Emma’s ball carrying at times looked like she was performing magic. It allowed us to have a balanced attack from both the left and the right.”
Shafer's big game
Cody Shafer sat the bench when Schenectady ended its basketball season late last February with a 65-62 Section II Class AA first-round loss to Shenendehowa. He had played in a few games before, but his minutes were minimal.
“He didn’t want to be that guy watching from the sideline,” Patriots coach Eric Loudis said after Friday’s 67-39 season-starting home win against Bishop Maginn. “He wanted to play, and he did something about it.”
Shafer earned a starting nod with his work and progression as a player, and delivered an impact performance in the opener with nine points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds and six steals. The 6-foot-3 senior guard never scored more than four points in a game last season, and every other stat blew away his previous best.
In the locker room afterward, Shafer’s teammates gave him plenty of ribbing about a missed layup that cost him a triple-double, but also gave him a big thumbs-up.
“We call him the nucleus of the team,” said Pats senior center Darius Macon. “He’s the one that brings the team up all the time.”
Shafer was at his best as a ball distributor, constantly finding the open man on the wing or down low. He had seven assists and five steals in the first half as the Pats opened a 38-12 lead, and had seven points and eight of his rebounds in the second half.
“We don’t care who scores,” Shafer said. “Whoever is open is going to get the ball.”
Shafer preferred to talk about the team rather than his personal accomplishment.
“We kept going at it and didn’t stop,” he said. “In the summer and in our scrimmages, I’ve never seen us play that hard.”
Macon scored a career-high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds and six blocked shots.
Hoffman among elite
Former Schenectady High School and New York University basketball standout Justin Hoffman has been named to the University Athletic Association 25th Anniversary team.
Hoffman helped Schenectady win the state Class A championship as a senior forward in 1998 before his four-year career at NYU. He was selected a UAA first-team all-star as a junior and again as a senior, when he averaged 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds. Hoffman scored 1,197 points at NYU, and
averaged 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds over his career.
Thirty-four players made the UAA anniversary team, four of them from NYU.
Hoffman averaged 9.7 points and 8.6 rebounds when Schenectady went 28-1 during his last high school season. Hoffman, James Thomas and Pat O’Connor formed the front line, Willie Deane and Jamaar Sims started at guard, and Jason McKrieth was first off the bench for one of Section II’s greatest teams.
Gatt to Temple
Voorheesville softball star Amanda Gatt has signed a national letter of intent to attend Temple University.
Gatt pitched four no-hitters last season and recorded 325 strikeouts, topping the school record of 245 she had as a sophomore. Among her starts last season was a two-hit, 24-strikeout effort when the Blackbirds beat Fonda-Fultonville in 11 innings, 4-3. Gatt, a two-time all-state Class C selection, hit an RBI triple to win the game.
Baseball standouts Robbie Knights of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (St. John’s) and Chris Amorosi of Schalmont (Siena) recently signed letters of intent, as did basketball ace Cassie Broadhead of Scotia-Glenville (Brigham Young).
Coming and going
Former Tamarac and Lansingburgh coach Dave Bestle has been selected to lead the Catholic Central varsity baseball team.
Bestle guided Tamarac for the last four seasons, and last spring took the Bengals to the sectionals for the first time in 16 years. In a 16-year run at Lansingburgh that ended in 2008, Bestle had five Colonial Council championship teams and a pair of Section II title-winning squads. He has 273 career victories.
Don Glennan directed Catholic Central for the last three seasons, and his final edition made it to the sectional semifinals. …
Former Mohonasen and Schenectady Christian School girls’ basketball coach Paul Brosious is an assistant with the Schalmont boys’ team this season. Brosious led both of his varsity girls’ teams to sectional championships.