Guilderland girls finally end Niskayuna’s hex

MARC SCHULTZ/Gazette Photographer Guilderland's Shea Thompson looks to pass as Niskayuna's Kit Christian defends during Thursday's game.MARC SCHULTZ/Gazette Photographer Guilderland's Shea Thompson looks to pass as Niskayuna's Kit Christian defends during Thursday's game.

BY JIM SCHILTZ
Gazette Sportswriter

NISKAYUNA — The Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team ended one streak Thursday and kept another one going with an uneven 8-6 Suburban Council win over state-ranked Niskayuna.
The Dutchmen built a big halftime lead behind Siena College-bound Kerry Gerety, and held on for their first victory over the Silver Warriors since the 2013 season.
“Our seniors were very happy to end that run,” Guilderland coach Carrie Britt said of Niskayuna’s three straight wins against her squad which included 15-14 and 12-11 decisions. “It was big for them because Niskayuna is such a strong program.”
Niskayuna showed its grit in the second half with four unanswered goals, those coming after Kadi Futia made it 8-2 1:48 into the frame.
“We were saying we wanted to set the pace, and we did that in the first half,” Guilderland senior midfielder Hayley Kmack said. “We lost it a little bit in the second half.”
Playing two full halves is something Britt will certainly emphasize at Guilderland’s next practice.
“Good high school programs have to systematically target weaknesses and work on them,” the Guilderland coach said. “You want to be keep getting better and be at your best at the end of May.”
Guilderland (6-1, 8-2) has been the better team now in six straight games, with that streak beginning after a 12-9 loss to Shenendehowa.
“We try to target every mishap,” Britt said. “For example, when we played Shenendehowa we had a ton of eight-
meter calls on us, and we didn’t pressure their shots. It’s something we’ve been working on, and something we’ve gotten better at.”
Guilderland’s current streak includes a win against Shaker, the team it lost to in last year’s Section II Class A final, and another against Canandaigua, the state’s No. 13 Class B team. Niskayuna (6-1, 7-4) is the state’s No. 19 Class B team with its signature win coming against Saratoga Springs.
“That was our wakeup call,” Gerety said of the April 11 loss to Shenendehowa, a game that was tied at the half. “Since then, we said we’re not going to lose another one. Since then we’ve picked it up.”
“We’re definitely getting better,” Kmack said. “It goes back to our practices where the defense is pushing the offense and the offense is pushing the defense.”
Guilderland pushed Niskayuna around in the first half Thursday, scoring the first two goals, the last two, and three consecutively between the Silver Warriors’ goals. Gerety had two goals and two assists in the half, and picked up her third assist when Futia delivered early in the second period.
“We were pumped for this team,” Gerety, a senior attack player, said. “We hadn’t beaten them in three years. We knew we had it in us.”
Niskayuna had the ball a lot more in the second half.
“We went up 7-2, and we got conservative,” said the Manhattan College-bound Kmack, who scored two first-half goals. “You can’t do that against good teams like Niskayuna. They’re going to come back.”
Niskayuna got second-half goals from Ava Schroeder, Becca Curro and Sydney McPartlon in a span of 78 seconds soon after Futia’s second goal made it 8-2. Annabelle Conover got Niskayuna within 8-6 with 4:25 left, scoring after a double spin move.
“Pretty much most of the second half was on their side of the field,” Gerety said. “We started missing a few draws. They got a few calls. Our defense was under pressure but we got it done and finally beat Niskayuna.”
Britt called the second half a good experience for her defensive cast.
“As we got nervous we slowed our feet down,” Britt said. “You can’t simulate pressure. It was good to go through that and feel that. Next time we’ll be better, and after that we’ll be even better.”
Niskayuna goalkeeper Mary Tiscione kept Guilderland from getting more in the first half when she made saves on four eight-meter attempts. Tiscione finished with nine saves, and stepped another eight-meter shot in the second half. Alexa DiCaprio’s 10 saves for Guilderland included four stops on eight-meter bids.

Guilderland    7 1 — 8
Niskayuna    2 4 — 6
Guilderland scoring: Kerry Gerety 2-3, Hayley Kmack 2-0, Amanda Nieman 1-0, Alexis Nieman 1-1, Kadi Futia 2-1. Niskayuna scoring: Erin Doyle 1-0, Tori Pantalone 1-0, Ava Schroeder 1-1, Becca Curro 1-0, Sydney McPartlon 1-0, Annabelle Conover 1-1.
Goalkeepers: Guilderland, Alexa DiCaprio, 10 saves. Niskayuna, Mary Tiscione, 9 saves.