NISKAYUNA: Nisky set to defend class A title

The Niskayuna field hockey team finds itself in a unique position.

For the first time, the Silver Warriors enter the Section II, Class A playoffs as the Suburban Council champions, the No. 1 seed and the defending Sectional champs.

But after winning last year's title as the No. 4 seed, Niskayuna coach Alison Broomhead said her team knows that anyone in the eight-team field can string together three consecutive wins especially in a game like field hockey, where one goal often makes the difference between winning and losing.

It seems like the underdog teams play the hardest, and we want to play our hardest," said Broomhead.

The Silver Warriors (13-1) have stayed a step ahead of their opponents this year by specializing in the quick strike. Niskayuna often scores first in its games, which puts its opponents in the unenviable task of trying to get the tying goal against a stingy defense led by goaltender Molly O'Donnell.

"We know that normally it's going to come down to one goal, so what we try to do is score first and score quickly," said Broomhead.

Several players have contributed to the offense including Bridget Knicker-bocker, Alex Pomato and Brittany Baughman, who had the winning goal in last Friday's 1-0 victory over Saratoga that clinched the league title.

"Our goals have been pretty spread out, but (Knick-erbocker) has been the most consistent," said Broomhead. "I think she has a great idea of where to be at the right time."

Once Niskayuna has the lead, it's been difficult for opponents to take it away. O'Donnell is one of the top goaltenders in the area with several shutouts to her credit, and the Silver Warriors de-fense doesn't allow many breakaway opportunities.

"Molly tore her ACL last winter, so she's been our comeback kid," Broomhead said of O'Donnell. "She has great nerves (in goal). She doesn't get nervous very often."

The Silver Warriors open their title defense Thursday when they host Shaker in the class A quarterfinals. The winner of that game plays either Bethlehem or Queensbury next Wednesday.""

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