BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — Heading into the 2015 season, the Niskayuna boys’ soccer team expected to experience its share of frustrating moments early in the campaign. With the graduation of a number of starters from last year’s club which finished as the runner-up in Section II Class AA, head coach Joe Carosella expected his team’s first half of the season to be bumpy before — hopefully — a smoother second.
That possible progression was shown within today’s game, as the Silver Warriors withstood a frustrating first half before pulling away for a 2-0 win against Albany in a Suburban Council game that Niskayuna wants to build on moving forward.
“This is our first time proving we could beat a good team this season,” said Niskayuna senior Ronan Schreer, whose squad was 3-2 for the campaign after topping Albany.
Schreer scored both goals for Niskayuna in the contest, the scores coming exactly three minutes apart in the second half. Schreer scored on a free kick in the 47th minute, and then followed it up with a 50th-minute goal off an assist from sophomore Alex Chan.
Niskayuna had several opportunities to score in the game’s first half, but could not cash in on a number of point-blank chances. By the conclusion of the game’s first 40 minutes, the Silver Warriors wore their frustration on their faces.
“At halftime, I just said to take a deep breath before you shoot and to stay calm,” said Carosella, whose squad took 24 shots in the contest, 14 of which came on net. “You don’t have to blast the shot if you’re in the right spot.”
Schreer scored his ice-breaking goal minutes into the second half, freeing up the Silver Warriors to play with less stress the rest of the way.
“Everyone sighed a sigh of relief after that one,” Carosella said.
“It got us energized,” senior Noah Daviero said. “In the first half, we’d missed so many easy chances.”
Three minutes later, Chan found Schreer to give Niskayuna a two-goal lead.
“It was a perfect pass from Chan,” Carosella said. “He collects the ball well and distributes it well.”
Albany never threatened to score in the second half, as Niskayuna senior keeper Joey Romano was rarely called upon in a game in which he recorded his third shutout of the season.
The victory pushed Niskayuna above .500 through its first five games, a nice benchmark to hit for the rebuilding Silver Warriors.
“Early on [this season], we were all nervous because we’d lost so many starters,” Schreer said. “But we’ve started to feel more comfortable.”
“We’d like to have another win — we could have beat Colonie [to whom Niskayuna lost 1-0] — but we’re doing pretty good,” Daviero said. “We’re getting better, and hopefully by sectionals we’ll be beating everyone.”
Carosella agreed he’d have liked to see his team pull out the game against Colonie — another contest in which Niskayuna failed to capitalize on many scoring chances — but that he’s content with a 3-2 start for his squad. After some early growing pains, the Silver Warriors are beginning to hit their stride in 2015.
“We’re on our way,” Carosella said.
The Niskayuna boys’ soccer team next plays Tuesday against Troy at 6:30 p.m. So far this season, the squad has played five games:
Sept. 1: Ballston Spa 2, Niskayuna 0
Sept. 3: Niskayuna 5, Mohonasen 0
Sept. 8: Niskayuna 4, Columbia 0
Sept. 10: Colonie 1, Niskayuna 0
Sept. 12: Niskayuna 2, Albany 0