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No comeback for Niskayuna lacrosse

No comeback for Niskayuna lacrosse

Ballston Spa eliminated in Class B
No comeback for Niskayuna lacrosse
Niskayuna junior Finn McCullough unleashes a shot in Wednesday's sub-regional game against Mamaroneck.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

EAST GREENBUSH — So many things were the same, except there was no comeback for the Niskayuna boys' lacrosse team.

Mamaroneck built a healthy lead like it did a year ago, but refused to wilt this time in an 11-5 Class A sub-regional victory over the Silver Warriors Wednesday night at Columbia High School.

In avenging a 14-13 loss in the 2018 regional final with Niskayuna, Mamaroneck (Section I, 19-1) extended its win streak to 19 games and dealt the Silver Warriors (19-1) their first defeat.

"You could tell they had a chip on their shoulder by how hard they were playing," Niskayuna senior midfielder Griffin King said. "They were attacking the ball and getting after it."

Niskayuna fell behind 10-4 late in the third quarter a year ago, rallied to take an 11-10 lead and fell behind again 13-11 before notching the game's last three goals in one of the state tournament's greatest comebacks.

In the rematch, Niskayuna again trailed 10-4 late in the third period, but its rally consisted of one goal by Brock Behrman with 7:42 remaining in the contest.

"You always feel like you have a chance to come back," Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang said. "I thought if we strung a couple of good plays and got a couple goals, we had a chance to make a run at it."

Mamaroneck stopped running near the end, which was among the keys to its success against a Niskayuna team that came in with a No. 2 state rank. The Tigers worked the clock on each possession, and made the Silver Warriors work on each of theirs with a physical and aggressive defensive effort. 

"Last year, it was push, push, and we never were able to slow it down," Mamaroneck coach Jeff Barnard said. "We learned from last year."

Niskayuna and Mamaroneck have met several times on the state tournament trail, but before Wednesday, the Tigers had never prevailed.

"This was the fourth time we've played them," Barnard said. "They got us in 2012, in 2015, when they won the state title, and last year. We got the monkey off our back."

Mamaroneck faceoff specialist Shane Smith, who is headed to Union College, won 13 of 18 draws. Thomas Conley sparked the Tigers' offense with five goals and two assists, and William Martin added three goals for the state's No. 5 team.

Goals by Martin and Conley were part of a 5-0 first-half run that followed a game-starting goal by Niskayuna's Finn McCullough. Conley scored three unanswered goals to begin the third quarter as Mamaroneck went up 8-2. Martin's goal with 1:42 left in the third made it 10-4.

"We came out and scored and felt good about that, then we kind of went stagnant on offense," said King, who had a goal and two assists. "We built ourselves too big of a hole."

The five goals represented a season-low for the Silver Warriors. McCullough scored three of those goals, his first coming 1:23 into the contest, before Declan Harrigan began Mamaroneck's counter just 27 seconds later. McCullough ended Mamaroneck's 5-0 run with 1:28 left in the second quarter.

"In all reality, there was not one phase of the game we won," Vorgang said. "Their passing and catching was better, and so was their clearing and faceoffs. They were better."

Niskayuna beat Bethlehem last week 11-6 to land its 17th Section II championship and spot in the state tournament. Mamaroneck advanced to state play with a 10-4 win against Lakeland/Panas in the Section I title game.

"I'm sure when we won the section title, they [Mamaroneck] were pumped about that," Vorgang said.

Mamaroneck began its string of wins after a season-starting 9-7 loss to Yorktown.


CLASS B

John Jay built a 6-1 second-quarter lead and ended Ballston Spa's season for the second year in a row with a 13-6 Class B victory.

Ballston Spa (14-5) got as close as 6-3 late in the first half and 9-6 midway through the final quarter.

"We've had great success getting out early. It was done to us," Ballston Spa coach Lucas Snow said. "I think a lot of it was nerves. I'm glad they showed the fight that they have in them."

Antonio Rossetti scored three goals for the Scotties, and Gregg Dort made several difficult saves among his 12 stops.

"It's about possession," Snow said. "We turned the ball over too much. They out-possessed us."

Bryce Ford paced the Indians of Cross River (Section I, 18-2) with six goals and two assists. The senior attackman had four goals and two assists when his team raced to its 6-1 advantage.

"It's a game of runs," Snow said.

Rossetti scored late in the third frame and Lucas Bennice and Peyton Walsh connected in the fourth to get Ballston Spa within 9-6, and John Jay, the state's No. 3 team, rattled off the final four goals of the game.

Ballston Spa beat Warwick 19-8 in a sub-regional game last year in its state tournament debut before a 15-4 loss to John Jay.

CLASS A

MAMARONECK 11, NISKAYUNA 5

Mamaroneck 4 1 5 1 — 11

Niskayuna 1 1 2 1 — 5

Mamaroneck scoring: Martin 3-0, Conley 5-2, Harrigan 1-0, Rayner 2-0. Niskayuna scoring: Behrman 1-1, King 1-2, McCullough 3-0.

Goalkeepers: Mamaroneck, Fried, 6 saves. Niskayuna, D'Allaird, 14 saves.

CLASS B

JOHN JAY 13, BALLSTON SPA 6

John Jay 3 3 3 4 — 13

Ballston Spa 0 3 1 2 — 6

John Jay scoring: Murphy 1-0, Wishart 2-3, B. Ford 6-2, Chang 1-1, Mercer 2-3, D. Ford 1-0. Ballston Spa scoring: Bennice 1-0, Thomas 1-1, Rossetti 3-0, Walsh 1-1, Gregory 0-1.

Goalkeepers: John JayBrowne, 7 saves. Ballston Spa, Dort, 12 saves.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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