BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — When Guilderland displayed its fine lacrosse pedigree with a second-half run, Niskayuna showed its own with an even better one.
The Silver Warriors scored five consecutive goals to begin Tuesday’s game matching unbeaten Suburban Council teams, but it was a seven-goal, second-half burst that finally put the Lady Dutch away in a 19-13 victory.
“That comes from our conditioning. We work really, really hard in practice,” said Niskayuna coach Jason Bach. “We stress the work ethic. When we get in a spot like this, they respond.”
Guilderland went on a 5-1 run to make it a 12-9 contest before Niskayuna answered, just like it had against Saratoga Springs in its season opener, which it won with seven straight goals in the end to break away from a tie.
“It was coach inspiring us, Marisa DiVietro winning draws, Bri Sacks and Alissa Franze playing so hard and making plays,” said senior Cat Sexton, who paced Niskayuna with three goals and five assists. “It was everyone playing awesome.”
The Silver Warriors have been just that so far this season, with Tuesday’s win leaving them 4-0 in the league’s North Division and 5-0 overall. The Lady Dutch dipped to 3-1 in the SC South and 3-2 overall.
Niskayuna also beat Guilderland last season, 12-11, as part of its drive to the Section II Class B championship game.
“Last year was no fluke. This year is no fluke. We’ve worked hard to establish ourselves,” said Bach. “We had seniors last year who had never beaten Guilderland before. We have seniors this year who had never beaten Shaker before. Our girls are making this a reality.”
Aside from Saratoga, Niskayuna defeated reigning Section II Class A champ Shaker, Ballston Spa and Minnechaug (Mass.) before topping a Guilderland team that has been to the last eight area large-school finals.
“I knew Niskayuna was loaded,” said Guilderland coach Carrie Britt. “I knew we would have to play 50 minutes of great lacrosse. I feel like we played 41.”
Guilderland got four goals and two assists from Cara Quimby, with the Syracuse-bound senior delivering the last two goals in the 5-1 spurt, both assisted by Isabelle Sericola. Niskayuna’s counter that stretched just over seven minutes included two goals apiece by Franze and DiVietro, and two assists by Sexton, one of them coming on sophomore Cara LaPorta’s first varsity goal.
Meghan Kirwan and Sacks also had goals in the 7-0 flurry.
“We had girls watching plays instead of helping a player. We started to lose a few draws. We threw away some possessions,” said Britt. “Niskayuna has such a good attack. You can’t give them the ball.”
DiVietro capped the 7-0 run with two free-position goals, the junior’s second coming with 4:23 left to make it 19-9 before Guilderland got the last four goals.
“Guilderland is definitely a great team,” said Sexton. “They never got down. You could hear them talking.”
Niskayuna made a statement in the beginning with its five straight goals, two coming off Sexton’s stick, while the New Hampshire-bound senior assisted on the other three. Niskayuna led, 9-4, at the break, and two goals by Sacks early in the second half extended the hosts’ advantage.
“We weren’t shocked by the way they [Guilderland] came back,” said Bach.
Goals by Rebecca Golderman, Sericola and Hayley Kmack made it 11-7, and, after Franze connected, Quimby got Guilderland within 12-9 with 11:30 left.
“In the middle of the second half, we started to lose the ground-ball battle,” said Bach. “They had the ball more than us.”
DiVietro finished with four goals and two assists, Franze had three goals and one assist, Sacks totaled three goals and netminder Maya Manchester stopped two free-position shots among her seven saves.
Kmack had three goals, Sericola closed with two goals and two assists, Golderman had two goals and one assist and Kelsey Cox made 11 saves, several of them on close-range attempts.
Cox is among a host of new starters for Guilderland, which lost its first game Saturday to Longmeadow (Mass), 10-7.
“I’ve never believed more in a team in my life. We’re here right now, and we’re going to be here,” Britt said as she raised her hand from shoulder height toward the sky. “I’ve got a group of young, exciting kids. We’re going to keep growing, learning and building.”
Check out Peter Barber’s photos from the game here.
Guilderland 4 9 — 13
Niskayuna 9 10 — 19
Guilderland scoring: Kerry Gerety 1-0, Coppinger 1-0, Cara Quimby 4-2, Isabelle Sericola 2-2, Rebecca Golderman 2-1, Hayley Kmack 3-0, Fish 0-1. Niskayuna scoring: Marisa DiVietro 4-2, Erin Doyle 1-0, Alexa Franze 1-0, Alissa Franze 3-1, Ellie Petraccione 0-1, Bri Sacks 3-0, Cat Sexton 3-5, Isabel Curro 1-0, Abbey O’Brien 1-0, Meghan Kirwan 1-1, Cara LaPorta 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Guilderland, Kelsey Cox, 11 saves. Niskayuna, Maya Manchester, 7 saves.