On a humid Friday morning at SUNY Cortland, the Niskayuna girls lacrosse team stepped into new territory.
The Silver Warriors played their first state semifinal game, and they picked the wrong opponent for its baptism.
Garden City, the Long Island power that owns more state championships than any other program, dominated from the start against Niskayuna and cruised to a 17-4 victory in the Class B semifinals.
Niskayuna head coach Peter Melito said his team was prepared to deal with Garden City's high-octane attack and did some things well, but made too many errors.
We had practiced all week on stopping their transition, and we won most of the draws today, he said. "But we didn't take care of the ball well."
Any Niskayuna mistakes against Garden City were magnified. The Trojans took a 2-0 lead and then delivered a critical blow when they scored four times in a span of 2:01 to build a 6-0 advantage before the game was 10 minutes old.
Garden City's lead swelled to 7-0 before Niskayuna got on the scoreboard on Marie Murtyn's goal 11:19 into the first half. Murtyn and Carly Richards (who converted just before halftime) were the Silver Warriors' goal scorers in the first half as they went into halftime down 9-2.
All game long, Garden City's defense honed in on the Silver Warriors' top player, Leanna Pace, and bottled her up well " a stark contrast to the nine goals she put up in the regional finals against Saugerties. Still, said Melito, Pace kept playing hard.
"They took her out, but she never got frustrated," he said.
With cool, methodical precision and plenty of skill and speed, Garden City pulled further away in the second half, the margin getting to 15-2 before Elizabeth Halayko and Richards tacked on some late goals.