Niskayuna could literally see its lacrosse season winding down Saturday at the University at Albany.
After Section I heavyweight Somers opened up a 10-goal lead in the first half, by rule, the big scoreboard clock at John Fallon Field never stopped.
“It’s heart-wrenching,” said senior Cat Sexton, describing Niskayuna’s 18-4 Class B regional loss. “You see the running clock. You’re trying as hard as you can to dig yourself out of the hole.”
The Silver Warriors found themselves in a big one quick. The Tuskers (Section I, 18-2-1) scored six straight goals to start the game, and after Sexton delivered the first of her four with 12:53 left in the opening half, they closed the period with five more and began the next with another five.
“It’s an awful way to have it end, but there are a lot of things to be proud of,” said Niskayuna coach Jason Bach. “We made history this season. We represented the community well. We represented the program well.”
Though Niskayuna (18-1) captured its sixth Section II championship, it took an unbeaten record into the regionals for the first time, and climbed to No. 8 in the New York State Sportswriters Association rankings.
Niskayuna’s school-record 18 wins included two over Section II Class A runner-up Shenendehowa, another over Class A champ Guilderland and a thriller against Queensbury Thursday.
“It was a pretty awesome senior year,” said Niskayuna’s Bri Sacks. “It was great to beat all the teams we did.”
Niskayuna thought it had a chance to knock off Somers, too, and advance to the state Final Four for a second time. The Silver Warriors got there in 2008 after topping Saugerties for the regional crown in a game similar to Saturday’s, with a 21-2 win.
“We ran into a buzz saw,” said Bach. “Somers played phenomenal. They crashed hard on defense. They created turnovers. They finished on the offensive side. We did not do that.”
Down 4-0, Niskayuna had a goal erased on a crease violation with 15:05 left in the first half. Izzy LaRocca scored for Somers 50 seconds later, and Gabby Rosenzweig connected 61 seconds after that.
“Once it got taken away, it was kind of a mood killer,” said Sacks. “Somers is a great team.”
Nicole DeMase, Gabby Rosenzweig and Livy Rosenzweig scored goals to give Somers a 3-0 lead before the contest was three minutes old. Livy Rosenzweig finished with five goals and three assists, DeMase scored five goals and Gabby Rosenzweig had four goals and two assists.
“I told my girls, ‘When you see 3, 12 and 17, be on your toes. Be ready to roll,’ ” said Bach. “We knew who they were.”
DeMase, who is headed to Johns Hopkins, played a key role with her work on the center draws.
“Its hard to win games without possession,” said Sexton. “DeMase is just amazing. I’ve played against her before.”
Dana Melby, Isabel Curro and Eva Hoskins joined Sacks and Sexton in a group that played their last games for Niskayuna.
“We’re losing five seniors, but the girls coming back are so talented,” said Sexton. “Obviously, I want them to win a state title, but what I want just as much is for them to stay close next year, like we were this year.”
Niskayuna’s underclassmen group includes Maya Manchester, who made nine saves Saturday and 14 against Queensbury, and Marisa DiVietro, Alissa Franze and Ellie Petraccione, who combined for four goals and two assists in Thursday’s 11-8 win.
“We want them to keep the ball rolling,” said Sacks. “They’re going to be fine. They’re going to be awesome next year.”
“I’m looking forward to next year,” said Bach. “Hopefully, they learned from this. Hopefully, the underclassmen come back a little hungrier.”
Somers 11 7 — 18
Niskayuna 1 3 — 4
Somers scoring: Gabby Rosenzweig 4-2, Teagan Lucchese 1-0, Livy Rosenzweig 5-3, Izzy LaRocca 1-0, Nicole DeMase 5-0, Christine Olert 2-0. Niskayuna scoring: Cat Sexton 4-0.
Goalkeepers: Somers, Jess Monaco, 9 saves. Niskayuna, Maya Manchester, 9 saves.