Warriors are on a roll
SCHENECTADY Passing and catching. Fast and fluid transition. Effective rides and accurate shots.
The Niskayuna girls put on a strong display of lacrosse Tuesday night, and gathered a little more momentum for what they hope is a breakthrough sectional performance.
“I feel like every day we get better,” senior defender Rachel Franze said after a 14-5 Suburban Council win over Saratoga Springs at Union College’s Frank Bailey Field. “Every game, we do something better than the last time.”
The Silver Warriors scored two goals inside the final minute of the first half to gain some breathing room, and used a late-game spurt to pull away from the Blue Streaks for their 10th victory in the last 11 games on senior night.
Marissa DiVietro sparkled in transition and led Niskayuna with three goals and two assists, while Bri Sacks and Cat Sexton notched three goals apiece, and Ellie Petraccione added two goals and two assists. Niskayuna excelled on defense, as well, allowing only three goals in open play and the other two on free position shots by Hanna Wise.
“Right now, we’re close to firing on all cylinders,” said first-year Niskayuna coach Jason Bach. “You saw in the second half we had a few breakdowns. We’ve still got some work to do, and I’m sure the girls will do that. They’re a fun group to coach because they’re willing to bust their butts day in and day out.”
Hard work is one of the reasons Niskayuna (10-3, 11-3) is in such a good spot with the Class B sectionals just around the corner.
“These girls had a great offseason in the weight room, and in the spring they did a lot of conditioning,” Bach said. “With the weather we had, there was not a lot we could do but condition.”
Niskayuna was strong up and down the field throughout Tuesday’s contest, and extended its winning streak against Saratoga to nine consecutive games.
“Hills almost every day,” said Niskayuna senior midfielder Jillian Macri, who had a goal and an assist. “We’re never out of breath.”
The Silver Warriors high-octane transition led to numerous scoring chances.
“Our transition is very fast,” said Macri. “Everyone gets involved. We know where the other girl is going to be, from our goalie to our defense to our midfield to our attack, and we usually get a nice shot off.”
Alison Franze scored with 31.4 seconds left in the first half and DiVietro connected with 8.1 seconds to go as Niskayuna opened up an 8-2 advantage. Just before the two goals, Wise hit the pipe on a free position bid.
“That was really important for us,” Rachel Franze said of the quick goals. “All of the girls got pumped up.”
Alison Franze forced a turnover with a stick check and scored a second-half goal to give Niskayuna an 11-4 lead. After Cameron Parry scored for Saratoga, Sexton delivered a goal and DiVietro fired in two more.
“Our star players are playing at a high level and they’re getting a lot of support off the bench,” said Bach. “We’re getting tighter. We’re doing a lot of little things. A lot of good things are happening with this team.”
“I think it comes down to chemistry,” said Macri. “We have good chemistry. We have a bond on and off the field.”
“It’s a total comeback year for us,” said Rachel Franze. “I’m hoping to make it to the [sectional] finals and win. My freshman year was the last time we won, and there’s no better feeling.”
Saratoga Springs 2 3 — 5
Niskayuna 8 6 — 14
Saratoga Springs scoring: Molly Kern 1-0, Cassidy Henderson 0-1, Hanna Wise 2-0, Ann Mahoney 1-0, Cameron Parry 1-0. Niskayuna scoring: Bri Sacks 3-0, Ellie Petraccione 2-2, Jill Marci 1-1, Alissa Franze 2-0, Marissa DiVietro 3-2, Cat Sexton 3-0, Becca Curro 0-1.
Goalkeepers: Saratoga Springs, Zoie Cavotta, seven saves. Niskayuna, Asa Goldstock, 6 saves.