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Ballston Spa lacrosse moves forward

Ballston Spa lacrosse moves forward

Scotties top Warwick 19-8 in first state tourney game
Ballston Spa lacrosse moves forward
Ballston Spa’s Lucas Bennice works the ball behind the net against Warwick’s Patrick Tully.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

EAST GREENBUSH -- Ballston Spa's first appearance in the state lacrosse tournament looked awfully similar to its first Section II title-game win just a few days before.

The Scotties put together a pair of significant first-half runs and made a bit more program history Wednesday with a 19-8 Class B sub-regional triumph over Warwick at Columbia High School.

"We want to keep buying days together," Scotties' senior Zac Schuette said.

It was all but certain Ballston Spa (16-2) would play another day after opening the contest with seven unanswered goals. After Warwick (Section IX, 14-3) crept back in it, the Scotties unleashed five unanswered goals to go up 14-4 in the second quarter.

"Our team motto is get another one," Ballston Spa senior Joe McDonald said. "Keep the positive flowing and keep moving forward."

Ballston Spa won all phases of the game for the third time this postseason, which included Section II tournament wins over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (21-11) and Queensbury (21-5). Schuette piled up five goals and three assists in Wednesday's game, Lucas Bennice had four goals and an assist, and five other Scotties registered multiple points. At the other end James Nash made 11 saves in front of a longstick cast that included Theo King, Alex Hodge and Alex Kazakavich, and in the middle, Austin Deskewicz and Aaron O'Connor won 21 of 29 faceoffs.

"I can't say enough about the consistency he brings to our team," Ballston Spa coach Lucas Snow said of Deskewicz, who took most of the draws. "What he does, that keeps teams from making runs on us."

Ball possession played a huge role in Ballston Spa's start, and in its second goal-scoring flurry after Warwick pulled within 9-4 in the second quarter.

"They got a couple on us," Schuette said. "Our faceoff guys played grea,t and we used all six guys on offense. We moved the ball well."

Bennice, Sam Swingruber, Schuette, Alex Yerou and Ethan Thomas connected in the 5-0 run, and Thomas and Swingruber both set up a goal.

"It's nice when you have a lot of legs on the sideline," McDonald said. "We've got a lot of guys who can play."

Ballston Spa showed Warwick that from the start, when five players scored in the opening period and the Scotties unleashed 18 shots. Bennice and McDonald both notched two goals, and Schuette had the game's first goal and three assists before the opening stanza was through.

"The key to that start was we were executing at a high level and taking good shots," Snow said.

Ballston Spa became the first Section II Class B team to win a state tourney game since Albany Academy beat Highland in 2015.

"We want the guys coming after us to beat us," Schuette said. "We like working with the youth program. We're setting a bar for them to someday go after."

Ballston Spa will meet John Jay-Cross River (14-4) in a regional final Saturday at 3 p.m. at Lakeland High School. John Jay beat Section XI nemesis Yorktown 10-8 in the Section I title game.

"We're going to go out and play our hardest and see where the chips fall," Schuette said.

Niskayuna was the last Section II Class B team to secure a regional title in 2013 with wins against Yorktown and Cornwall.

"From day one we've set goals," Snow said. "Suburban Council Grey Division. Section champion. If we execute like we did in that first quarter, we'll give ourselves a chance."


Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang described his team's 21-7 Class A sub-regional win against Kingston as uneven.

"There were definitely sections of the game where we didn't play well," Vorgang said. "It has to be consistent."

The bright spot for the Silver Warriors (18-1) was a 6-0 run to close the first quarter after Niskayuna and Kingston (Section IX, 15-3) played to a 3-3 tie. The spurt began with 3:01 left in the quarter, and included two goals apiece by Eoghan Sweeney, Finn McCullough and Griffin King.

"We kind of got rolling a bit," said Vorgang, whose team scored four of the six goals in a 35-second span. "It was definitely a good way to respond."

Sweeney dominated the faceoffs during the game-breaking stretch, and his two goals came on rushes through the Kingston defense. The senior All-America finished with a career-high three goals and an assist.

"It was a 3-3 tie and it was, 'Let's get the next one. Let's get the next one. Let's get a cushion,'" Sweeney said. "They came to play and we were able to pull off the win. That's definitely a positive."

Niskayuna which extended its lead to 15-4 at the half, will play Mamaroneck (14-4) Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in a regional final at Lakeland High School. Mamaroneck topped Lakeland/Panas 16-9 in the Section I title game.

"We need to match intensity every game," Vorgang said. "If not, we might not be able to come back from it."

King, an All-American midfielder who had nine goals and an assist in Niskayuna's 20-9 Section II title-game win over Shenendehowa, led again with five goals and an assist. McCullough had three goals and an assist, and Dan Brownell had two goals and two assists.

"Those two guys have been consistent all year," Vorgang said of King, a junior, and Sweeney, who won 16 of the 25 draws he took.



Kingston 3 1 1 2 - 7

Niskayuna 9 6 2 4 - 21

Kingston scoring: Buffa 1-0, Wilson 0-1, Timbrouck 0-1, Longo 3-0, Carpino 1-0, Amato 2-0, Parker 0-1, Wright 0-1. Niskayuna scoring: Carach 1-0, Gregory 1-2, Bach 1-1, Nish 2-1, Sweeney 3-1, Brownell 2-2, Collins 2-0, King 5-1, Guest 1-0, McCullough 3-1, Elford 0-1.

Goalies: Kingston, Breithaupt, 12 saves; Niskayuna, Ronesi, 7 saves; D'Allaird, 1 save.



Warwick 0 5 2 1 - 8

Ballston Spa 7 7 1 4 - 19

Warwick scoring: Meade 1-0, Pinskey 1-0, Malota 0-2, Ormsby 1-1, Mears 2-1, Hranitz 3-1. Ballston Spa scoring: Bennice 4-1, Schuette 5-3, Thomas 2-1, Yerou 3-1, McDonald 2-1, Rodak 1-1, Gregory 1-0, Swingruber 1-2, Deskewicz 0-1.

Goalies: Warwick, Steng, 15 saves; Ballston Spa, Nash, 11 saves.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jm_schiltz on Twitter.


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