BY JIM SCHILTZ
SCHENECTADY — The Niskayuna boys’ lacrosse team is just days into its spring workouts, and Lucas Quinn has already picked up a major award.
The high-scoring midfielder was among the 15 players named to USA Today’s preseason All-USA boys’ lacrosse first team that was released March 1.
“That paper goes across the whole country,” Quinn said Wednesday afternoon before joining a 3-on-3 drill. “It’s a high level of recognition. It’s nice.”
Quinn, who verbally committed to Syracuse University before he played his first varsity game, has been honored numerous times in his prolific career. He landed a third-team spot by USA Today at the end of the 2016 season, and made the All-USA honorable mention group the year before.
“He’s such a humble kid,” Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang said. “He talks about other players from around the country and how good they are. That comes from being around it and being from such a good family. He’s not a kid who talks about himself very much.”
The 18-year-old Quinn would rather talk about his team that’s looking to regain its spot among New York’s elite, and his expanded role with it.
He is a senior now, and at Niskayuna, members of that class are expected to do more than score goals, transition the ball and make defensive stops.
“It’s my fourth and final year, and like coach Vorgang always says, ‘The seniors lead,’ ” Quinn said. “I give a lot of credit to the guys I played with who have prepared me. I feel lucky to have been on the field with them. I saw what they did, and I’ll try to do the same. I’ll try to make guys around me better and hopefully, we can take it as far as my sophomore year.”
That was the year Niskayuna became Section II’s first state champion, when Quinn scored three goals in a 13-10 win against West Genesee. His five goals and one assist helped the Silver Warriors get there, those six points coming in a 14-11 state semifinal victory over Syosset.
“I remember not being able to focus in school. The bus ride down. That game was amazing,” Quinn said of beating favored Syosset. “That whole week the Niskayuna lacrosse community was so excited. Then we played on that Saturday, and you know the rest.”
Niskayuna didn’t make it out of Section II last season, losing to Shenendehowa 15-14 in the Class A title game. Niskayuna had won 81 straight games against Section II competition and claimed four consecutive area titles leading up to that classic final in which Quinn scored the last goal to give Niskayuna hope in the final seconds.
“It was a brutal day for us,” Quinn, who had two goals and two assists, said. “We didn’t execute. I missed nine or 10 shots, and some other guys missed some shots. It was a bad day, but at the same time, give credit to Shen. They got us.”
Quinn and Niskayuna’s other seniors, like Mike Doxie, Justin Wise, Logan Michalisin, Connor Wolff, Jonathan Pfohl, Max Golub and Gallagher Gregory, will be leading a team that’s eager to bounce back and add to the Niskayuna legacy.
“I look around and these are my best friends, guys I have been playing with since third, fourth, fifth grade,” Quinn said as he watched the Silver Warriors run up and down Union College’s College Park field. “We’ve been together for so long, and now it’s our turn to bring along the younger guys. We’re going to put in the work and see what happens. It would be a neat way to go out, on top.”
Niskayuna has an experienced team at the offensive end but a young one on the defensive side.
“As a sophomore, he was a star player but wasn’t expected to lead the team,” Vorgang said. “Junior year, same thing. This year he has a huge role trying to lead a team that is young in a lot of ways.”
Quinn’s role will include point production after totaling 51 goals and 48 assists as a junior and 44 goals and 35 assists as a sophomore. For his efforts last year Quinn was recognized as a US Lacrosse and Under Armour Underclass All-American.
“He was always great at a lot of things,” Vorgang said. “He’s never been one-dimentional. Every year he’s just gotten better at all of that stuff.”
Quinn grew up with a lacrosse stick in his hands and honed his skills in backyard battles with older brothers John and Evan. John graduated from Niskayuna in 2006, and Evan in 2013.
“To me, it feels like he’s been here forever,” Vorgang said. “When his brothers were here, he was the little guy running around. He’s been a part of it for so long. It’s going to be a weird feeling when he’s not here.”