The Niskayuna girls soccer team is back in the Section II, Class AA semifinals after a four-year absence, but it had to survive a Halloween scare first.
Kat Thomas scored with five minutes left in regulation to push Shaker within a goal, but Niskayuna held on for a 3-2 victory in Tuesday's quarterfinal game.
It was a little bit nerve wracking, said Niskayuna coach Bryce Colby.
The Silver Warriors (15-3-2) knew they were in for a game against Shaker. In their previous meeting Sept. 12, Niskayuna had Shaker down 4-1 at halftime, but had to withstand another late charge to hold on for a 4-3 win.
"Shaker is very fast, and they press you when they have the ball," said Colby. "And, they come at you from all angles."
Whtiney Frary got Niskayuna off to a good start with a goal midway through the first half. Brooke Knowlton then tallied less than three minutes into the second half to make the score 2-0.
Shaker's Rebecca Millock broke up the shutout bid with a penalty kick goal, but Frary struck again a short time later to put Niskayuna ahead by two goals again.
Both teams had scoring chances following Thomas' goal, but Shaker's shots missed their mark.
"We had a couple of good chances in the final five minutes that we didn't finish, and they had their chances, too," said Colby.
Niskayuna plays top-seeded Shenendehowa in Saturday's semifinal at Broadalbin-Perth High School. Shen survived its own Halloween scare Tuesday by pulling out a 4-2 victory over Guilderland with a pair of second-half goals.
"The way I look at it is if you're going to win (the Sectional title), you're going to have to play two of the top three teams at some point," Colby said.
Two of Niskayuna's three losses have come against Shen. The Plainswomen shut the Silver Warriors out 4-0 Sept. 6, but Niskayuna showed improvement in a 2-1 loss to Shen Oct. 6.
"I've told them before that on any given day, if we play well and put things together, we can beat anybody," said Colby.""