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Niskayuna reloads for another title run

Winning Section II boys lacrosse titles is something that's expected in Niskayuna not just by the fans, but also by the players themselves.

I just think it's the kids," said Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang. "There's high expectations for the program, and the kids have high expectations for themselves."

In order for the Silver Warriors to win their sixth consecutive Sectional title, they'll have to find a way to fill the holes left by the graduation of several key players from last year's team that reached the state Class B finals including their top two scorers, Jared Franze and Dan McKinney.

"We have some [returning] kids who have been around for a long time, but it's hard to replace guys like Jared and Dan, who accounted for 78 goals between them," said Vorgang.

But at Niskayuna, Vorgang never has to worry about rebuilding the offense. He can simply reload with veterans such as Guy Waltman, Mark Panneton, Colin Foster and Matt Sexton.

"Our attack is where I think we have the most number of quality players," said Vorgang.

The Silver Warriors also have a new goaltender following James Manchester's graduation, Ian Verzoni.

"Compared to James, he's much smaller in size," said Vorgang of Verzoni. "He's quick, though, and he reacts to the ball well. He's a great kid, too."

Niskayuna begins its season next Wednesday when it hosts Shaker, but it will be the only time this season that the Silver Warriors and Blue Bison play each other. Thanks to a realignment in the Suburban Council, Niskayuna is now in the North Division with Shenendehowa, Saratoga Springs, Ballston Spa and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, while Shaker moves to the South Division with Colonie, Bethlehem, Guilderland and Columbia.

"I think it's going to be different not playing Shaker twice or Guilderland twice like we have for so many years," said Vorgang. "But it should still be good."

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