Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake coach Jake McHerron directed his girls’ lacrosse team to run its “Lightning” play often in the second half of Thursday night’s Suburban Council game with Shenendehowa, and the Spartans struck again and again.
“We started a new play yesterday. It’s something they didn’t see coming,” senior Christina Krowel said after Burnt Hills rallied for a 19-14 victory. “We tried to use it at the beginning, and it didn’t work out so much. In the second half, we got the hang of it.
“It was like a bolt of lightning.”
Burnt Hills rattled off seven straight goals to erase a 10-5 deficit, and after Shenendehowa tied the contest at 12-12, the Spartans (9-5, 10-5) went on three- and four-goal runs to reached double-digit wins for the third year in a row.
“We got that, and we’re sending the seniors off this field with a positive,” said McHerron. “I’m proud that everybody stepped up. From our youngest talent to our seniors, they played for each other.”
Northwestern-bound senior Nicole Beardsley set school records with eight goals and 11 points, and Krowel had four goals and an assist, with those five points coming after Rachel Picchi had given Shenendehowa (9-5, 10-6) its 10-5 advantage early in the second half.
Draw specialist Julia LeVan and her surrounding cast also played a significicant role in the comeback.
“Draws were huge,” said McHerron. “It’s those little things. Win draws, pick up ground balls, and things happen. It’s possession.”
Carly Grant scooped up the ball off the draw, raced down the field and scored to tie the game at 10-10 with 16:55 left. Beardsley and Mackenzie LeVan followed with free position goals soon after.
“You can’t ask for anything more,” said Beardsley. “When you repeatedly have success on the draws, you control the ball, and that’s how you gain momentum.”
Picchi was Shenendehowa’s standout and finished with four goals and two assists, while Madi Shea collected two goals and three assists. Shea bulled in for a goal and Picchi scored on a spin move to get the Lady Plainsmen even before Krowel connected twice in a 32-second span and Beardsley delivered to make it 15-12.
Following a goal by Shenendehowa’s Megan Pendergast, Krowel and Beardsley both scored two more times.
“I was getting worried,” said the Buffalo State-bound Krowel. “At halftime, coach gave us a pep talk and got our heads in the game.”
Burnt Hills lost eight consecutive games to Shenendehowa before winning back on April 3 on a late goal by Beardsley, 12-11, and again Thursday with its superb rally.
“It was not just getting the the draws. It was a bunch of little things,” said Beardsley. “Taking care of the ball, hitting shots, defense when it did go in their end.”
Shenendehowa came in with momentum, having beaten Albany Academy (16-8) Monday and Ballston Spa (19-5) Tuesday.
“We knew we were going to have some bumps in the road, and we did, but we’re playing well heading into the sectionals,” said McHerron, whose team is the defending Section II Class B champion. “This was a good team win against a good team, and hopefully it sets us up for a nice run.”
Shenendehowa went on a 4-1 spurt to end the opening half and take an 8-4 lead. Picchi had two goals in the surge, and Katie Kerner scored with 13 seconds left in the half.
Beardsley scored the first two goals 20 seconds apart after Shenendehowa went up, 10-5, and goals by Grant and Nakona Wolfe 46 seconds apart made it 10-9. Grant notched her equalizer 24 seconds later to continue the spree.
“What makes it even more special is that it came on senior night,” said Beardsley.
Beardsley boosted her season goal total to 67, topping the school-record 66 the All-American had as a junior.
Shenendehowa 8 6 — 14
BH-BL 4 15 — 19
Shenendehowa scoring: Melissa Rosenthal 2-0, Madi Shea 2-3, Katie Kerner 2-0, Megan Pendergast 2-1, Rachel Picchi 4-2, Olivia Pickett 1-0, Jordyn Marr 1-0. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake scoring: Nicole Beardsley 8-3, Nakona Wolfe 2-1, Christina Krowel 4-1, Mackenzie LeVan 1-2, Aubrey Kamppila 0-1, Haley Schultz 0-1, Carly Grant 3-1, Emily Ankabrandt 1-2. Nikki Pedone 0-1.
Goalkeepers: Shenendehowa, Lexi Keen, 5 saves. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Lexie Ball, 8 saves.