CLIFTON PARK — For both sides, decision-making and execution could have been better.
But the level of intensity played with in Thursday’s Suburban Council boys’ soccer matchup between Niskayuna and Shenendehowa made up for that.
“We were at a 10,” said Shenendehowa senior David Benson, who scored the game-winning goal in the Plainsmen’s 2-1 victory.
Played five days before the seeding meeting for the Section II playoffs, Niskayuna and Shenendehowa went at it for 80 solid minutes in a physical affair. All three scores came in the opening 30 minutes, but the Silver Warriors just missed tying the game in the 79th minute.
“We lost, but Shenendehowa is a good team,” said Niskayuna head coach Joe Carosella, whose team’s final close-range shot was stopped by Shenendehowa junior keeper Greg Monroe. “I felt like we belonged with them and could have had the tie game with a minute to go.”
With the victory, Shenendehowa (12-2, 13-2) has won 11 consecutive games. Niskayuna (9-5, 9-5) had won its prior two games before playing the Plainsmen, the program the Silver Warriors faced in the 2014 Section II Class AA championship match.
Shenendehowa sophomore midfielder Trevor Chung started the game’s scoring in the 3rd minute. After taking a pass from Benson near midfield, Chung took a few uncontested dribbles before booting in a quick score.
“We knew Trevor Chung was a good guy, a good player,” Carosella said. “He’s very skilled. We didn’t step to him and he had time to dribble and look.”
Niskayuna answered in the 17th minute. After a long rebound off a Monroe save, Silver Warriors junior Chris Ogden knotted the score with a shot from distance.
Benson put the Plainsmen ahead for good In the 30th minute. Off a Chung pass, Benson headed in the game-winning goal.
“In the first half, we played great,” Shenendehowa head coach Jon Bain said. “The ball movement was great and we created good opportunities.”
In a physical second half, neither team managed many substantial scoring opportunities. Monroe and Niskayuna sophomore Jimmy Joyce each finished with five saves.
“The intensity and physicality was fine,” Bain said. “The decision-making, as the game went on, seemed to get worse.”
Overall, though, both teams were pleased with their play in the penultimate regular season game for each squad.
“We’re a young team,” Niskayuna senior midfield Ben Wagoner said. “This was one of the first times we played in an environment like this. . . . We’re picking it up. I feel good about us going into sectionals.”
“We’re starting to get it,” Benson said. “We’re working together better. Some players have had to switch around for us, but we’ve adapted well and we’ve collectively been playing well as a team.”
Shenendehowa finishes its league season with a home match Saturday against Saratoga Springs, while Niskayuna will play host to Shaker.
In other games, George Cox and Nick Johnston produced first-half goals, and Ichabod Crane locked up the Colonial Council Division 1 title with a 2-0 win over Schalmont.
Goals by Simon Smith and Ben Crandall, off a Nick Cavotta feed, gave Saratoga Springs a 2-0 win over Shaker in a Suburban Council game.
Guilderland edged Columbia 3-2 on goals by Brandon Ford, Michael Friguletto and Eddie Yu.
Jeremy Obrecht’s second-half goal enabled Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake to forge a 1-1 tie with Ballston Spa. Tyler Doherty had a first-half goal for the Scotties.
Brady Van Epps generated three straight goals in a 12-minute span in the first half, and CBA cruised past Albany 7-1.
Kevin Piccolino’s goal in the 16th minute stood up as Bethlehem clipped Colonie 1-0.
Bethlehem goalie Ryan Henning made the last of his seven saves late in the second half to get the shutout.
Zach Lanoue scored two goals in the second half as Averill Park came from behind to beat Mohonasen 2-1.
Matteo Iagrossi scored in the first half for Mohonasen.
Emily Turner and Adrianna Marcolin scored goals, and Saratoga Springs dealt Shaker its first loss of the season 2-0 in a Suburban Council soccer game.
Shaker (12-0-1, 14-1-0) came in with a No. 5 state ranking. Julia McDonald made four saves for the Blue Streaks (8-2-2, 9-2-2).
Ianah Mackey scored a goal in each half, and Madison Knowles denied Bethlehem with a seven-save effort in Colonie’s 2-0 victory.
Hayley Kmack and Giovanna Popolizio scored goals, and Kiersten Becker made 20 saves, to spearhead Guilderland’s 2-0 triumph over Columbia.
Sydney Haskin and Maeve Morrissey scored goals to lift Averill Park over Mohonasen 2-0.
Heather Moss, Maddie Pinzer and Abby Burns had goals as Troy beat Schenectady 3-1.
Burns added an assist, and Troy netminder Natalie Stoner made five saves. Emily Brown scored for the Patriots.
Niskayuna beat Shenendehowa 2-0 on goals in the first half by Kierstyn Gurney and Olivia Piraino. Erin Doyle made eight saves.
Schalmont raced to a 9-0 halftime lead in a 13-0 Colonial Council win at Ichabod Crane.
Vanessa Wainright collected four goals and an assist for the Sabres, Sydnee Metzold had two goals and an assist.
Rebecca Clair recorded a hat trick, Julia Voss had two goals and two assists, and Kaelyn Lawson had two goals and one assist as Voorheesville beat Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 8-0.
Gabrielle Kreppin and Aly Fish scored two goals apiece in South Glens Falls’ 5-2 Foothills Council win over Gloversville. Madison Fancher and Rebecca Brown-Weinstock tallied for Gloversville.
Central Hudson Valley League leader Emma Willard beat Doane Stuart 3-0 on goals by Lauren Berry, Mae Burris-Wells and Madeline McCarthy.
Miranda Seacord struck for five goals and set up another one in leading Cambridge over Waterford-Halfmoon 7-3 in the Wasaren League.
Alexis Viola notched two goals for the Fordians, and Annelise Rebel set them both up while adding a goal.
Brooke Pickett scored all three goals in Stillwater’s 3-1 overtime win against Hoosic Valley.
Madison Harrington of Mechanicville and Darian Morgan of Hoosick Falls had first-half goals in an overtime tie.
Meagan Schmid scored two goals, Kristen Maher scored her 36th to double her goal output from last season, and Saratoga Catholic (11-5-0) completed its non-league slate with a 3-2 win at Whitehall.