Warriors major in chemistry
CLIFTON PARK When Niskayuna is piling up goals at one end of the lacrosse field, it usually means the guys at the other end are clicking, too.
“We have great chemistry, and we all know our jobs,” Niskayuna senior defenseman Jon Tiberio said after Thursday night’s 17-7 win at Shenendehowa. “If we do our jobs, we’ll be successful.”
The Silver Warriors never let the Plainsmen put together a sustained offensive run and countered with several of their own to prevail in a game matching state-ranked Suburban Council leaders.
Tiberio excelled in a one-on-one matchup with Kyle Marr — joining with his defensive mates in holding Shenendehowa to a season-low output — and Ryan Lawson was among several high-scoring Niskayuna players with a game-high seven points on two goals and five assists.
“Everything was working for us,” said Lawson, a senior midfielder. “It was tight in the beginning, but we believed in ourselves and we believed in what the coaches were telling us, and we were able to pull away.”
Niskayuna (6-0, 7-1) did that in the middle quarters with runs of 5-2 and 6-2 to open up a 15-6 advantage.
“We came out a little sluggish again. We’ve been doing that, but the second quarter was great,” said Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang. “It started with defense. They made stops, made saves, picked up ground balls.”
And a fluid transition followed.
“Our defense was playing great, our middies were bringing down the ball, our offense was finishing,” said Niskayuna senior attackman Mike D’Amario. “We were putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Niskayuna beat Shenendehowa (6-1, 6-3) for the sixth straight time with its blend of offense that rattled off 42 shots and defense that stymied the Plainsmen for long stretches at a time. First-year starter Nick Testa made nine saves behind a stingy group anchored by Tiberio, Pat Holmes, Jake Miller, Jack Lennon, Ron Sandroni and Reed Avveduti.
“It’s really our defense that deserves credit,” said Lawson. “Our defense gets overshadowed. They came up huge for us.”
Marr scored two goals, Shenendehowa’s first and last, while the Johns Hopkins recruit battled against Tiberio. Pete Sacks led the Plainsmen with three goals.
“He [Marr] is a great player. He’s a great feeder,” said Tiberio. “I handled him well, and the rest of the defense helped me out.”
“He’s a hard-nosed kid,” Vorgang said of Tiberio. “That was a dificult assignment and he certainly held his own. He was very disciplined and stayed in good position.”
Niskayuna was in a good position at the half, and in an even better one after three quarters. Lawson played a key role in the second-quarter run with assists on three straight goals before adding a goal and another assist in the third frame.
“He’s great. I believe he’s underrated. You look at our team and he’s not the first or second guy you talk about, but he may be our best player,” said Vorgang. “He plays offense. He plays defense. He gets ground balls.”
D’Amario scored two of his six goals in the third quarter. Aidan O’Brien notched two of his four goals in the second frame and added two assists. John Prendergast scored three goals, two of them coming 17 seconds apart in the third period.
Dylan Pantalone won eight of nine faceoffs in the third quarter and was 16-10 for the game.
“To beat an excellent team like Shenendehowa gives you momentum,” said D’Amario. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Niskayuna 4 5 6 2 — 17
Shenendehowa 2 2 2 1 — 7
Niskayuna scoring: Ryan Lawson 2-5, Aidan O’Brien 4-2, John Prendergast 3-0, Lu Quinn 1-1, Sam Kaplan 1-0, Mike D’Amario 6-0. Shenendehowa scoring: Pete Sacks 3-0, Kyle Marr 2-0, Willy Stevenson 1-0, Matt Taft 1-1.
Goalkeepers: Niskayuna, Nick Testa, 9 saves. Shenendehowa, Ben Robbins, 8 saves.