1st goal, win arrives for Niskayuna field hockey

Niskayuna lines up to defend its goal from Columbia during a Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 girls' field hockey game. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)Niskayuna lines up to defend its goal from Columbia during a Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 girls' field hockey game. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Sportswriter

NISKAYUNA — When one scoring opportunity after another came and went without the Niskayuna field hockey team cashing in Friday against Columbia, the Silver Warriors kept their heads high.

“We just kept at it — and kept at it, kept at it,” Niskayuna head coach Alison Broomhead said.

Finally, with 25:48 to play in the team’s Suburban Council matchup, Niskayuna was rewarded. That’s when senior Grace Hale found herself putting the ball into the back of the cage off a pass from senior Ellie Petraccione, delivering the Silver Warriors all it needed in a 1-0 victory — and providing Niskayuna with its first goal of the season.

Niskayuna players celebrate scoring a goal  during a Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 girls' field hockey game. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Niskayuna players celebrate scoring a goal during a Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 girls’ field hockey game. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

“It just felt so good,” said Hale, whose team was shut out Wednesday in a season-opening 3-0 loss to Saratoga Springs.

Any goal after 94 minutes and 12 seconds of scoreless play would have pleased Broomhead, but the coach said the way her team scored — a hard pass in from Petraccione, leaving Hale to finish it off from up close — was what made her smile.

“That’s something we practice every day — a cross and a clean shot in,” she said.

The victory evened the Silver Warriors’ record at 1-1 on the young season. While it was disappointing for Niskayuna to start its campaign with a loss, Petraccione said the game against the defending Section II Class A champions helped her club jump into the season fast.

“It was hard starting off with Saratoga, but we came into this one knowing no team is a weak team,” she said. “You’ve got to play like every team is Saratoga.”

Against Columbia, Niskayuna dominated possession throughout the contest. Strong play from athletes such as senior Brooke Cleveland, senior Maya Manchester, and junior Natalie Metzger helped make a game possible where junior goalie Emma Skumurski did not need to make any saves.

Niskayuna's Christina Callahan runs off the field  during a Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 girls' field hockey game. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Niskayuna’s Christina Callahan runs off the field during a Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 girls’ field hockey game. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Still, despite controlling play, Niskayuna could not take control on the scoreboard until a few minutes into the second half. Once the Silver Warriors scored, their energy picked up and they continued to find scoring chances — a positive, but one the team wants to bring to the table from the first minute in future games.

“We want to get that fire right from the start,” Petraccione said.

After a win like Friday’s, Hale said the team is more confident and ready to take on the rest of the 2015 season.

“We’re starting to bond and our passing is becoming a lot stronger, too,” she said. “It’s coming together.”

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.