Niskayuna alums ready for NCAA lacrosse tournament

John Prendergast, second from left, celebrates his first collegiate goal during an April game against Marquette. Prendergast, a Niskayuna High School alumnus, plays for Duke. (Photo courtesy Jack Welch)John Prendergast, second from left, celebrates his first collegiate goal during an April game against Marquette. Prendergast, a Niskayuna High School alumnus, plays for Duke. (Photo courtesy Jack Welch)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Sportswriter

Two days before his team’s last game of the regular season, John Prendergast could breathe a little easier.
Finals were done.

“I’m a free man,” joked Prendergast, a freshman on the Duke University men’s lacrosse team. “I just have to worry about lacrosse now, and I love doing that.”

Prendergast, a 2015 Niskayuna High School graduate, will be one of several former Silver Warriors playing in this year’s NCAA postseason lacrosse tournaments at the Division I level. Duke will travel to play May 14 against seventh-seed Loyola in the first round of the tournament. To have helped his team survive play in the Atlantic Coast Conference and earn one of the 18 spots in this year’s tournament was especially gratifying for Prendergast, who said his team wanted to make sure its seniors got the opportunity to continue their careers.

“They’ve put in so much work in the last four years, they deserve to be in the tournament,” he said.

As a high school senior last year, Prendergast helped lead Niskayuna to its first state title in boys’ lacrosse. He credited the

Niskayuna coaching staff for his ability to step in right away for Duke — Prendergast played in all of Duke’s 18 regular season games — and said he has been actively following the Silver Warriors’ 2016 season through social media and news reports.

“The boys seem to be doing well,” he said. “I’m proud of them.”

An offensive force in high school, Prendergast has primarily played as a defensive midfielder this season. He scored two goals and had an assist during the regular season, his first goal coming just a few weeks ago. Prendergast, who said he is interested in studying public policy, said his teammates and coaches made his first score a special one with the way they reacted in the moments after the goal.

“I just remember coming off to the sideline and seeing how happy everyone was for me,” he said. “That everyone was so happy for me, it made me happy.”

If Duke defeats Loyola, a May 22 matchup in the quarterfinals would likely come against No. 2 Denver, a squad which beat Duke back in February. To get far in the tournament, though, is largely a product of getting hot at the right time, something Prendergast said his Blue Devils are capable of in the coming weeks.

“I feel like we have four more good games in us,” he said.

DIVISION I TOURNAMENT NOTES

Kayla Treanor, a senior on the Syracuse women’s lacrosse team, will chase a national championship for the final time this spring. The 2012 Niskayuna graduate scored 46 goals and 34 assists while earning her third consecutive ACC Offensive Player of the Year award. Treanor, her program’s all-time leading goal-scorer, helped Syracuse to a No. 4 seed in the women’s tournament and a first-round bye. … Luke Goldstock, a junior at the University of North Carolina, scored 23 goals and had 20 assists this season. The 2013 Niskayuna graduate — who teams with 2015 alumnus Aidan O’Brien — and the rest of the Tar Heels will play No. 6 Marquette University in the first round. … In one of the men’s play-in games, Quinnipiac University and Hartford University will meet. Ryan Lawson, a 2014 Niskayuna graduate, scored five goals this season for Quinnipiac, while 2013 graduate Evan Quinn is a goalie for Hartford. … Bri Sacks, a 2015 Niskayuna graduate, is a freshman on the University of Massachusetts squad that will play Princeton in the women’s first round.

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.