For the first time in several years, Niskayuna and Duxbury didn’t play a lacrosse game that was all that close.
Luke Goldstock and the Silver Warriors’ defense had so much to do with that, flourishing at different ends against the two-time reigning large-school state champions from Massachusetts.
“When we go there or they come here, there’s always added energy,” Goldstock said after piling up seven goals and two assists in Saturday’s 11-3 non-league victory. “Now, we have bragging rights for a whole year.”
Duxbury had them last spring, when it edged Niskayuna on a late goal, 8-7. The teams split 7-6 decisions in the two games before, and Niskayuna prevailed in 2009, 13-2, as part of a series that’s been waged annually since 2005.
“There was definitely some motivation. They’re a great team, and we definitely had last year in mind,” said Niskayuna goalie Evan Quinn. “They scored with 13 seconds left last year. We got ’em back.”
Niskayuna (9-0) made a defensive stand at the outset of the contest, holding Duxbury without a goal for nearly three minutes as the Dragons worked the ball. Mike D’Amario opened the scoring 7:05 in when he handled a feed from Lucas Maloney and went behind his head and found the upper corner.
With that, the tone had been set, and Niskayuna went on to beat its second state champion this season after downing Connecticut heavyweight Darien, 14-9, on April 13.
“In my opinion, that was one of the best teams we’ve played all year. Them and Shenendehowa,” said Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang. “They put a lot of pressure on us. They took several good shots.”
Quinn only allowed one of those shots to go in until late in the third quarter. Goldstock scored four of his goals by that time as the Silver Warriors worked their lead to 7-1.
“We can’t score without the ball,” said Goldstock. “We need a save or a defensive stop first. The attack was rooting for them to get us the ball, and they did.”
“That was the best six-on-six defense we’ve played this year, and it starts with the goalie,” said Vorgang.
Quinn finished with 13 saves, including a stop during Duxbury’s early bid, and a diving arm save in the final quarter. The Hartford-bound netminder got plenty of support from Niskayuna’s base defense group of Dom Sloma, Nate Martin, Jon Tiberio and Luke Miller, and the midfielder cast of Cam Pierce, Tyler Pantalone, Ryan Lawson, Aidan O’Brien, Ron Sandroni, Brandon Melius and Reed Avveduti.
“We have a lot of depth on defense,” said Vorgang. “Even with their extended possessions, they couldn’t wear us down.”
Duxbury (7-4) didn’t score during three long offensive stretches.
“We weathered the storm each time, and that was huge,” said Vorgang.
“Coach [Chris] DeLano put in a great game plan. We were comfortable with what they were going to do,” said Quinn. “Everyone had a good handle.”
Nick Sisioan tied the game at one on a rebound goal with 5:11 left in the first quarter. Duxbury didn’t score again until there was 3:24 to go in the third frame when C.J. LoConte connected, and LoConte delivered again with 53 seconds left in the period.
“What they do well is move a lot. They run a motion offense,” said DeLano. “Our scout offense did a great job of simulating it.”
Goldstock had his second seven-goal game in three games while Virginia-bound D’Amario had two goals and four assists, and Penn State-bound Maloney had a goal and two assists.
“We had a sitdown after the Columbia game. We talked about working more as a unit. We talked about playing better together,” Goldstock said of the attack trio. “Everything has been clicking since.”
Goldstock scored a spectacular goal before LoConte’s two. The North Carolina-bound attackman jumped high for a one-handed catch, and with his back toward the cage, zipped the ball between his legs. His low line drive sailed past Nick Marrocco to make it 7-1.
“We had to add some flair in there,” Goldstock said with a smile.
“That’s probably the best shot in Niskayuna history,” said Vorgang. “He had to make a great catch just to set it up.”
Goals by D’Amario, Goldstock and Maloney — with two seconds left — gave Niskayuna a 4-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. Goldstock generated Niskayuna’s next six goals, two in each of the final three quarters, before O’Brien added a goal.
Pantalone went 11-5 on faceoffs, and Niskayuna held a 39-25 shot advantage while scoring the most goals against Duxbury this season.
Duxbury has won nine Massachusetts state titles in the last 11 years. Aside from the regular-season setback to Duxbury in 2012, Niskayuna lost only to West Islip in the state Class A semifinals.
Duxbury 1 0 2 0 — 3
Niskayuna 4 2 2 3 — 11
Duxbury scoring: Nick Sisioan 1-0, C.J. LoConte 2-0, Mickey Fitzpatrick 0-1, Wes Quinzani 0-1. Niskayuna scoring: Mike D’Amario 2-4, Lucas Maloney 1-2, Luke Goldstock 7-2, Aidan O’Brien 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Duxbury, Nick Marrocco, 11 saves. Niskayuna, Evan Quinn, 13 saves; Nick Testa, 1 save.