BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — Despite its personnel losses from a year ago, the talent’s there for the Niskayuna girls’ lacrosse team to put together another special season.
The challenge, Silver Warriors head coach Jason Bach said, is just that: putting it together.
“But the more we play, the more defined our roles will become,” Bach said Tuesday after his team’s 16-2 win against Columbia. “What we’re looking for is consistency. That’s the one thing we don’t have right now.”
Niskayuna graduated a bevy of impact players last year after defending its Section II Class B championship, a group of players highlighted by Marisa DiVietro, who now plays for reigning Division I national champion North Carolina. Now chasing a third consecutive area title, the Silver Warriors have restocked with returning players taking on bigger roles than a year ago.
“As people leave,” Bach said, “holes start to develop.”
In Tuesday’s Suburban Council win for Niskayuna (2-0, 2-1) against Columbia (1-1, 2-1), the Silver Warriors showed how they have started to fill them. Senior Erin Doyle, a solid scorer last season for Niskayuna, registered six goals as the offense’s new focal point. Sophomore Annabelle Conover, a role player last season, scored three goals and served as a playmaker, a role senior Becca Curro — who started her four-year varsity career as a defender and is now a midfielder — also played during a game in which she scored twice.
“I’m not really an offensive player, but I’m doing my best with it,” Curro said. “For everyone, we’re adjusting. We’re still finding out who is playing where, so it’s not just me. We’re all going through that.”
“But every game, we’re improving,” Doyle said. “It’s a really young team, so we have a lot to work on still.”
Niskayuna’s roster includes 10 sophomores, many of whom are counted upon to make contributions this season. For Conover, she’s seen her role grow from a year ago when she was only asked to score.
“This year,” Conover said, “I’m more geared toward making sure we’re running the plays correctly and doing whatever else the team needs.”
Also scoring multiple goals Tuesday for Niskayuna were sophomores CJ Harvey and Sydney McPartlon, while junior Tori Pantalone had a goal and two assists as the Silver Warriors stayed unbeaten in league play.
“And the more we play,” Bach said, “the more defined our roles will become.”
Columbia 1 1 — 2
Niskayuna 8 8 — 16
Columbia scoring: Colleen Kennedy 1-0, Rachel Morris 1-0. Niskayuna scoring: CJ Harvey 2-0, Erin Doyle 6-0, Sydney McPartlon 2-0, Tori Pantalone 1-2, Becca Curro 2-1, Kit Christian 0-1, Annabelle Conover 3-0.
Goalies: Columbia, Olivia Massey, 6 saves. Niskayuna, Mary Tiscione, 7 saves; Marina Azab, 2 saves.