Niskayuna lacrosse program wants to use BBQ to recruit new players

Members of the Niskayuna Lacrosse Club are shown in this photo from a 2011 tournament. (Photo provided)Members of the Niskayuna Lacrosse Club are shown in this photo from a 2011 tournament. (Photo provided)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Sportswriter

NISKAYUNA — In the midst of a historic year for Niskayuna lacrosse, the Niskayuna Lacrosse Club is trying to make sure future years have the chance to be just as successful.

“There are a lot of great things coming out of lacrosse in Niskayuna right now,” club president John Sweeney said. “But we want to give the whole program a shot in the arm again.”

That’s why the club will play host Sept. 13 to a noon barbecue at the town’s recreation complex off Aqueduct Road, free of charge, for boys and girls of all ages interested in playing lacrosse.

This past spring was the most successful one ever for Niskayuna lacrosse. At the high school level, the boys’ varsity squad won its first-ever state championship with a 13-10 win against perennial powerhouse West Genesee, while the girls’ team had an undefeated march to a Section II championship before ending its season in the state playoffs. Meanwhile, Niskayuna stars such as Luke Goldstock and Kayla Treanor excelled at the college ranks, where Goldstock set the single-season scoring record at the University of North Carolina and Treanor was again a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award after another fantastic season with Syracuse University.

Despite all that success, Sweeney said some of the player pools for some of the program’s lower levels are on the shallow end of things.

Members of the Niskayuna Lacrosse Club are shown in this photo from a 2009 tournament. The team included several members of this year's state title team for the high school, such as Lucas Quinn, Mike Doxie, Jon Pfohl, Jack Lynch, Connor Wolff, and Eoghan Sweeney.  (Photo provided)

Members of the Niskayuna Lacrosse Club are shown in this photo from a 2009 tournament. The team included several members of this year’s state title team for the high school, such as Lucas Quinn, Mike Doxie, Jon Pfohl, Jack Lynch, Connor Wolff, and Eoghan Sweeney.
(Photo provided)

“Us winning a state championship at the high school level is hopefully something that can jumpstart the whole program,” said Sweeney, whose son Eoghan Sweeney was a freshman on this year’s state title team.

“One [class], we may have eight boys and 25 girls, but the next one can be the opposite,” added John Sweeney, who said the program is trying to build more consistency with its ranks.

Right now, the club is accepting registrations for it various fall divisions at www.niskylax.com. While more players might be inclined to give lacrosse a shot in the spring, Sweeney said the fall season for the club offer something extra for young athletes since the high school’s varsity coaches — Mike Vorgang with the boys, Jason Bach with the girls — are able to be more involved with helping out since their school seasons are not in session.

“The high school coaches in the fall really work with the youth, so the kids get just that much more coaching,” Sweeney said.

The expectation is that the Sept. 13 picnic will include food and games, and Sweeney said the club is hopeful it will be able to get a large number of this past spring’s state champions to the event to sign autographs of their 2015 team photo.

While the club is mostly looking for new players to give the sport a shot, Sweeney said volunteers are also sought to help with coaching and the board. No experience, he said, is necessary — only enthusiasm.

“Here I am, president now, but I remember helping out when [my son] was at the K-2 level and I didn’t know anything,” he said, laughing.

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.