BY IAN VOGT
For Your Niskayuna
COLONIE — Niskayuna boys’ lacrosse head coach Mike Vorgang called his team into a postgame huddle. He was not pleased.
“It’s an embarrassment,” he said on the sideline of CBA’s Puleo Stadium. “You wasted an opportunity out there today.
“You’re not that good.”
His Silver Warriors had just won 19-4.
If you had simply picked up the box score from the May 14 matchup between Niskayuna and CBA, you wouldn’t have understood what had Vorgang so worked up. Even if you attended the game, you might’ve thought Vorgang would be pleased with his team’s effort.
But Vorgang and his players know more is expected of the defending Class A state champions. The Silver Warriors — which will be the top seed for the Section II Class A playoffs — understand they are in position to battle for much higher stakes later on this spring.
That’s why Vorgang was more concerned about the execution than pleased with the final score.
“Because they were playing a zone, James [Sexton] and Aidan [Byrne] were able to rack up a lot of goals,” Vorgang said. “They probably should’ve had 12 goals each, that’s no exaggeration.
“They did an okay job of finishing today, It certainly could’ve been better.”
At times a team as talented as the Silver Warriors can make the game look easy, even on an alleged off day.
Niskayuna did just that to open the game when senior Dylan Pantalone won four consecutive faceoffs to set up four straight goals in the game’s first minute, giving the Silver Warriors an early 4-0 lead.
“Dylan Pantalone is the best faceoff man I’ve ever seen in Section II,” Vorgang said. “He created a lot of opportunities for us early.”
Aidan Byrne, the 6-foot-6 senior standout, was the beneficiary of Pantalone’s faceoff work, planting his big frame in the open space of CBA’s zone defense, and capitalizing on a pair of opportunities in the midst of Niskayuna’s early run.
After the initial burst, Byrne flashed his skills going behind the back for his third goal of the game, making it 5-0.
“It was really a matter of spacing as to why I went behind the back,” Byrne said.
Evan Maloney, who tallied three goals and three assists on the afternoon, added one more before CBA’s Chris Willox got the Brothers on the board with 4:44 remaining in the first, making it a 6-1 game.
Each team added one more before the Silver warriors tacked on another three thanks to Sexton, Byrne and Michael Doxie, making it 10-2 as the quarter came to a close.
CBA’s zone defense limited Niskayuna’s midfield play, particularly that of Luke Quinn, who mustered but one assist for Niskayuna. The zone however created plenty of open looks for Sexton and Byrne, who combined for 13 goals and 19 points between them.
“Their zone led to a lot of open looks,” Byrne said. “We could’ve had more goals, honestly.”
The Silver Warriors had CBA slowing the game down whenever the Brothers could attain possession, looking to give the defense a rest.
“We’re trying to play as fast as we can, which creates chaos for our opponent,” Vorgang said.
Byrne echoed his head coach on the Silver Warriors game plan: “We want to keep the pace of the game high so we can create as many scoring opportunities as possible.”
But for Vorgang, the consistency was not there for the Silver Warriors this day.
“We played well in the first quarter,” Vorgang said. “But we can’t come out and play three or four minutes of good lacrosse then play four or five minutes of bad.”
Even as the Niskayuna attack slowed, Pantalone’s extraordinary afternoon continued with a spectacular shorthanded effort — even in the face of a wardrobe malfunction. Pantalone won a faceoff and carried the ball into the attacking zone, holding his pants up with one hand as he breezed by CBA defenders before dishing it off to Sexton, who made it 12-3 with his fifth of the afternoon early in the second quarter.
Niskayuna continued to pour it on, extending its lead to 15-3 at the end of the first half.
Maloney, Pantalone and Sexton added goals along with CBA’s Mike Pumiglia to make it 18-4 at the end of three before the second units on each squad got some run in the game’s final quarter.
Jon Pfhol added another for Niskayuna before time expired, providing the final margin.
A 15-goal margin of victory in a league win would be satisfactory for most, but not for Vorgang and company, who have one game remaining in the regular season before they gear up for a run at their fifth-straight Section II title.
“It just needs to get better,” Vorgang said. “We have to be more consistent throughout all four quarters.”
Niskayuna 10 5 3 1 — 19
CBA 2 1 1 0 — 4
Niskayuna scoring: Aidan Byrne 6-3, Evan Maloney 3-3, James Sexton 7-3, Michael Doxie 1-1, Dylan Pantalone 1-2, Jon Pfohl 1-1, Griffin King 0-2, Lucas Quinn 0-1, Max Golub 0-1. CBA scoring: Chris Willox 3-1, Nolan Aery 1-0.
Goalies: Niskayuna, Jack Lynch, 8 saves. CBA, Darian Poole, 4 saves; Brennan Bueno, 10 saves; Max Tedisco, 5 saves.