Lacrosse: Veteran Queensbury coach Ellement goes out on top
AMSTERDAM Senior netminder Ben Coughlan added a little spice to one of the great wins in the history of Queensbury lacrosse Friday night when he raced from one end of Amsterdam’s turf field to the other and scored a goal.
“I love running the ball. I love to clear it. It was open, and I took it. It felt good,” Coughlan said after the Spartans beat Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 13-10, for the Section II Class B championship. “I never did that before. I guess there’s a first for everything.”
Coughlan’s tally came in a four-goal burst to begin the third quarter, and the Spartans put three more goals together later on to all but seal their fourth title-game win and the last for retiring coach Keith Ellement.
“It’s awesome. The bonus is seeing the joy in these guys,” said Ellement, the man who founded Queensbury
lacrosse and guided teams to previous titles in 2006, 2002 and 2001. “The kids worked real hard. The kids listened, cooperated and improved.”
Queensbury (No. 2 seed, 14-2) scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter before subduing Burnt Hills (No. 1, 11-7) in the second half, and won its 10th consecutive game. Burnt Hills was the last team to down Queensbury, 14-3, and also prevailed in this same matchup of teams a year ago, 12-9.
“We wanted to get it for coach,” said Queensbury senior midfielder Peter Gryga. “Last year, we didn’t perform like we wanted to. This year, it was no prisoners. It was an all-around great team effort.”
“In this game for them, they played at a higher
emotional level than we did,” said Burnt Hills coach Tom Schwan. “Their energy level was there from the start, where we went up and down.”
Gryga scored four goals and assisted on two, and with support from backup Robert Orban, helped Queensbury build an 18-9 advantage on faceoffs.
Gryga’s goal capped the 4-0 third-quarter run that gave Queensbury a 10-6 lead, and consecutive goals by Ryan Conway, Gryga and Orban had the Spartans on top, 13-8, with just under five minutes to play.
“Tonight, he was dominant. He was a big, big part of what happened with his faceoffs and his offense,” Ellement said of Gryga.
Gyrga missed the April 19th game with Burnt Hills due to a shoulder injury. Burnt Hills scored 10 second-quarter goals in that win over the Foothills Council’s top team.
“Gryga wasn’t there in the first game, and that was a big difference. In the first game, we won faceoff after faceoff, had possession, and scored goals,” said Schwan. “Tonight he was a difference maker in the faceoff X, and he did some good offensive work.”
Ryan Conway score two of his three goals in Queensbury’s 5-0, second-quarter surge that made it 6-3, and Austin Fragale, Austin Clark and Tom Ruppel answered for BH-BH before the half was through.
Alex Metcalfe scored the tie-breaker 9:29 into the third frame, and Coughlan put together his dash and hip-high scoring drive 26 seconds after that. Metcalfe and Gryga padded Queensbury’s lead soon after on goals 24 seconds apart.
“It’s a momentum game,” said Coughlan, who finished with eight saves. “The last game with them we lost big. We gave up 10 goals in the second quarter. Today we said we’re going to fight the whole way.”
“That piece of let’s do it [for Ellement] was a big difference in the game,” said Schwan. “They had the energy and the emotional piece. They played better than us at every position across the board.”
Fragale and Nick Vincent scored goals to get Burnt Hills within
10-8, and Queensbury’s response started when Conway intercepted a clearing pass and beat BH-BL netminder Lucas Carter (12 saves) point-blank.
“This is great,” said Gryga. “We’ve always been so close. Now we’ve got one under our belt, and coach has one more.”
Fragale notched three goals, and Trevor Hills had a goal in four assists in BH-BL’s third title-game loss in five years.
Queensbury plays Section IX champ Wallkill (10-5) in one of three regional semifinal games Wednesday at Shenendehowa’s Steuerwald Stadium.
Niskayuna and Shenendehowa play for the Class A championship tonight at 7:30 after the Class C final at 5 pitting Scotia-Glenville and Glens Falls. Both games are at Amsterdam.
Niskayuna (No. 1, 17-1) owns a pair of wins over Shenendehowa (No. 3, 13-5), including a thrilling 12-11 decision in which Matt Sexton scored late in regulation and again in overtime for the Silver Warriors.
Shenendehowa beat Niskayuna in last year’s title game, 9-4, ending the Silver Warriors’ consecutive title streak at six. The Silver Warriors have captured 10 titles in all, and the Plainsmen have secured five including the 2010 banner.
Scotia-Glenville (No. 2, 9-4 in games played, 9-9 including forfeits) and Glens Falls (No. 1, 12-6) split a pair of Foothills Council games. The Tartans have had a tough go in sectional finals with six setbacks, the last in 2006. Glens Falls won the last two Class C titles and has nine championships in all.
BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE 10
Queensbury 1 5 6 1 — 13
Burnt Hills 2 4 2 2 — 10
Queensbury scoring: Peter Gryga 4-2, Brad Willows 1-1, Ryan Conway 3-1, Alex Metcalfe 2-0, Ben Coughlan 1-0, Robert Orban 1-0, Ben Willows 1-0. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake scoring: Austin Clark 2-0, Nick Vincent 2-1, Tom Kenneally 0-2, Erin Dillon 1-0, Tom Ruppel 1-0, Trevor Hiss 1-4, Austin Fragale 3-0.
Goaltenders: Queensbury, Ben Coughlan, 8 saves. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Lucas Carter, 12 saves.