Uncomfortable conditions didn’t put a damper on one of the Suburban Council’s hottest lacrosse rivalries.
With temperatures hovering around 30 degrees and winds consistently gusting between 25 and 30 miles per hour, Shenendehowa gave powerhouse Niskayuna all it could handle in Tuesday afternoon’s season opener for both teams.
The Silver Warriors, who are coming off a banner 20-2 campaign that included a run to the state tournament’s Class A semifinals, jumped out early, but then had to stave off several Plainsmen surges before recording a 14-12 victory at Brent T. Steuerwald Stadium.
Every time it appeared Niskayuna had the victory locked up, the Plainsmen, who lost to the Silver Warriors in last year’s sectional final, bounced back to put the final outcome in doubt.
Veteran Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang said the weather was more a nuisance than anything else.
“It was definitely cold, but we’ve had a bad spring, anyway,” he said. “But the wind affected our communication. We needed to do a lot better job communicating with each other, and the wind made it hard to hear. Of course, the cold weather did affect the players’ hands, and that made it harder to manipulate the ball.”
Lucas Maloney, who scored the Silver Warriors’ first four goals, said his team is used to the cold weather.
“We’ve been practicing in the cold all spring,” he said. “It was colder than this when we had some scrimmages against teams from Section I. It was probably 20 degrees outside.”
Maloney helped stake the Warriors to a 6-1 first-quarter advantage, but the tide turned quickly in the second period, when the Plainsmen scored four of the first five goals, including a pair of tallies from Kyle Marr, to slice their deficit to 7-5.
“We got off to a great start, but we had some problems in the second period,” Maloney said. “They had the ball almost the entire second quarter, and when you don’t have the ball, you can’t score. When we had the ball, we felt comfortable we could score almost every time. I thought our offense was better than their defense.”
Maloney said the Silver Warriors weren’t thinking much about the Route 146 rivalry.
“We play much tougher teams than Shenendehowa on our schedule, but you’ve got to give them credit, because Shenendehowa is a good team,” he said.
Vorgang said the Silver Warriors’ biggest problem in the second period was on the faceoffs.
“The officials kept saying we were moving early on the faceoffs. I’m not sure what the problem was. I’m not a referee,” he said. “But Shenendehowa got most of the faceoffs in the second period, and they took advantage of them.
“But Shenendehowa didn’t pack it in. They kept playing hard. I don’t think the emphasis was on the rivalry as much as it was on playing against a good team.”
Niskayuna took a 10-7 halftime advantage, and when Luke Goldstock notched a goal early in the third quarter, the Silver Warriors were up, 11-7.
But once again, the Plainsmen reversed the momentum with consecutive goals by D.J. Edick, Joe Romano and Marr to pull within 11-10 with 5:55 left in the period. Another Goldstock tally helped the Silver Warriors pad their lead to 12-10 before the final quarter break.
Mike D’Amario’s hard grounder beat Plainsmen goalie Ben Robbins to make it 13-10, but Pat Coll matched that goal for Shen.
Niskayuna had two chances to put the game away, but Robbins stoned both Maloney and Goldstock in the span of a minute to keep the Plainsmen in the game. Niskayuna goalie Evan Quinn also made a key stop in the final period to frustrate the Plainsmen.
Ryan Lawson’s score with 2:38 left was the clincher for the Silver Warriors, and Marr’s fourth goal for the game with 21.9 seconds wasn’t enough for the Plainsmen.
Shenendehowa’s Jake Defeciani admitted that weather conditions were severe.
“It was pretty cold out there,” he said. “It was definitely tough to play in. But this was our opening game, and it was against Niskayuna, which is always one of our toughest rivals. We were ready to play.”
Niskayuna 6 4 2 2 — 14
Shenendehowa 1 6 3 2 — 12
Niskayuna scoring: Lucas Maloney 4-1, Mike D’Amario 3-1, Ryan Lawson 2-1, Luke Goldstock 4-1, Aidan O’Brien 1-2. Shenendehowa scoring: D.J. Edick 4-1, Nick Arnold 1-0, Kyle Marr 4-0, Joe Romano 2-2, Pat Coll 1-0.
Goalies: Niskayuna, Evan Quinn, 4 saves. Shenendehowa, Ben Robbins, 11 saves.