Girls' lacrosse: Spartans knock off No. 1 seed to capture Class B crown
ALBANY This time, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake didn't wait to flip the offensive switch.
Nicole Beardsley scored all three of her goals in a surge to close the first half, Jordyn Godfrey connected four times and the Spartans claimed their second Section II Class B championship in three years with a 14-11 victory over top-seeded Queensbury Thursday at John Fallon Field.
Burnt Hills trailed, 11-0, at the half in last year's final with Queensbury before rallying in what would be a 12-8 setback. Burnt Hills won its first sectional flag at Queensbury's expense in 2011, 12-11.
"We had to go hard right off the bat," said senior captain Amy LeBel, who had a goal and an assist when the Spartans made their first-half move. "That was stressed at the start of the game. The fire we had was incredible."
Burnt Hills (No. 3 seed, 12-6) trailed by two early in Thursday's rematch, yet quickly recovered with three goals in a 90-second stretch, and notched six of the first half’s final seven goals to go up, 9-4.
"Winning draws was huge for us early on," said BH-BL coach Jack McHerron, who alternated LeBel, Haley Schultz and Courtney Clark in the center of the field. "That enabled us to get possession, and we put pressure on them. That proved to be the difference in the game."
Christina Krowel started the Spartans' game-turning run with 10:15 left just after she had a goal disallowed on a crease violation. After LeBel followed with a goal and Beardsley delivered two within 13 seconds of each other, Godfrey made it 8-3.
Allie Butler ended Queensbury's scoring drought with 26 seconds left before Beardsley made it 9-4. The junior captain's goal with 2.7 seconds left came on a run from the back of the cage, and from just outside the crease as she sprawled to the turf.
"We work best when we work together," Beardsley said of the 6-1 scoring run. "We were getting that second pass in."
Mackenzie LeVan scored 24 seconds into the second half, and Godfrey connected at the 23:45 mark to boost BH-BL's advantage to 11-4.
Godfrey had sandwiched goals around a score by Taylor Safford when Burnt Hills answered Queensbury's game-starting goals by Katie Zilka and Butler.
"It was still early in the game," Beardsley said. "We knew we could get through anything. Being down by a couple of goals was not a big deal. I had faith in my team."
The game was halted for a half-hour due to lightning with 10:51 left in the second half, shortly after a goal by Raymond got the Foothills Council champs within 14-10. Butler made it 14-11 on a free position soon after play resumed, and Burnt Hills successfully ate chunks of time afterward to seal its second tournament upset.
Queensbury (16-1) had gone on a four-goal run earlier in the second half to slice into a 13-5 Burnt Hills lead that LeBel created.
"We played like a team all year. In the end, we were together, like a family," said LeBel, who'll be BH-BL's first Division I player next season at New Hampshire. "We were working through double teams to get open and backing each other up, and we were able to eat it."
Queensbury's 16-game winning streak coming in included a 17-12 season-opening triumph over Burnt Hills. Burnt Hills also avenged a 12-10 regular season loss against No. 2 seed Niskayuna with an
11-10 overtime win in the sectional semifinals.
"That's what makes it sweeter," said McHerron. "We went through the best teams to do it."
BH-BL 9 5 — 14
Queensbury 4 7 — 11
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake scoring: Jordyn Godfrey 4-0, Mackenzie LeVan 2-1, Emily Ankabrandt 1-0, Taylor Safford 1-0, Christina Krowel 1-1, Amy LeBel 2-2, Nicole Beardsley 3-1. Queensbury scoring: Mary Rahal 2-2, Lindsey White 2-1, Casey White 0-1, Allie Butler 3-0, Katie Zilka 1-1, Christie Raymond 3-1.
Goalkeepers: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Lexie Ball, 11 saves. Queensbury, Bridget Bell, 7 saves.