NISKAYUNA — With a spree of goals early on and another significant run soon after, Niskayuna displayed its quick-strike ability in the first half of Thursday's Suburban Council girls' lacrosse game with Guilderland.
Niskayuna’s defense grabbed the spotlight in the second half, when it surrendered only a pair of goals, and none in the final 13 minutes on the way to a 19-6 victory.
“We have a very experienced group, and they know how to score,” Niskayuna coach Jason Bach said. “What we have on defense are a bunch of girls who can shut off the scoring area.”
Thursday marked the seventh time this spring that undefeated Niskayuna was more potent and stingier than its opponent. The Silver Warriors beat 2018 sectional champions Saratoga Springs, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Kingston before knocking off a Guilderland team that, prior to last season, had made 11 consecutive area finals and had prevailed in seven of them.
A victory over Shenendehowa is also part of Niskayuna's 6-0 league and 7-0 ledger.
"Honestly, I believe Niskayuna is the best team in the area," Guilderland coach Kara DePaula Lynch said. "They jell very well together. They have three all-stars on each line. What do you do with that?"
What Bach wants to do is to make what he has even better, so every day is about sharpening all of the assets his Silver Warriors possess.
"At the start of the season I made it clear that we are not defending anything," Bach said. "We have to earn it all. We want this year to be special, and we have to work for it."
The Silver Warriors are talented, and super motivated, after a 9-8 loss to Queensbury late last May ended their hopes of a fourth straight Section II Class B title.
"Last year, we lost to Saratoga twice and Shenendehowa," said Niskayuna senior defender Hannah Aronowitz. "We've got a lot of seniors, and we know we want to make our last one great."
Niskayuna's plan is to build and build before peaking come playoff time.
"Long-term goals? We want to make it to Cortland [for the state final four]," Niskayuna senior attacker Sydney McPartlon said, after scoring three goals and assisting on another. "We have big dreams."
Niskayuna had a big halftime lead Thursday, using 4-0 and 5-0 runs to go up 10-4.
"Our transition defense broke down, and we couldn't figure out where the bleeding was coming from," DePaula Lynch said. "This game showed us some things we need to work on. We've got some things to figure out as we continue to move forward."
Guilderland came up empty on the game's initial offensive thrust, and by the time the Dutchmen made another deep surge, they were down by four goals. Those four Niskayuna goals, two by McPartlon, came in just over two minutes.
"We've got a lot of good chemistry," said McPartlon, who did all of her offensive damage in the first half. "Not a lot of individual play. We focus on making smart passes, shot placement, communication and being positive."
Annabelle Conover had three goals and an assist for Niskayuna, CJ Harvey had a hat trick and Peyton Reihs collected two goals and two assists. At the other end Kara Banagan made 10 saves in front of a defensive cast that was missing starter Jane Reffelt as she recovers from an ankle injury.
"We filled her space and played strong," Aronowitz said. "We've always had a good rivalry with them [Guilderland], and even though we have a few more wins than them, we knew it would be a tough game. We tried our hardest."
Bach was pleased with some of the little things his cast did.
"We have struggled on ground balls and draw controls," Bach said. "Those are two things we wanted to do better today, and we did."
Niskayuna did have the ball a lot, and in the end, 11 different Silver Warriors had at least one goal.
"Our girls stayed spread out, did a nice job of cutting and passed well," Bach said. "When you do that, you score goals."
Amanda Nieman scored four goals for Guilderland.
Guilderland 4 2 — 6
Niskayuna 10 9 — 19
Guilderland scoring: Nieman 4-0, Renaud 1-0, Leader 1-0. Niskayuna scoring: A. McPartlon 1-1, Vorgang 0-1, Conover 3-1, Schroeder 2-0, Harvey 3-0, S. McPartlon 3-1, Collins 0-2, Reihs 2-2, Hafensteiner 1-1, Lennon 1-0, Barbera 1-0, Tsalakalos 1-0, Canale 1-1.
Goalkeepers: Guilderland, Mooney, 1 save; Gotay, 1 save. Niskayuna, Banagan, 10 saves.