On the brink of being left behind in the race for first place, the Niskayuna boys soccer team earned one of its biggest Suburban Council North Division victories of the season.
Phil Weeber and Monil Patel scored goals to lead the Silver Warriors past Shenendehowa 2-1 in Tuesday's North Division showdown in Niskayuna.
The victory moved the Silver Warriors (5-3-0, 7 points) into sole possession of third place in the North Division and allowed them to keep pace with Ballston Spa (5-0-3, 10.5 points) and Saratoga Springs (6-1-1, 10.5 points) in the battle for first place.
We'd love to be in the hunt for it, said Niskayuna coach Jeffrey Ormsbee. "From here on out, our schedule gets thick. There's no easy teams anymore, I think."
Niskayuna had started the season strongly by winning four of its first five games, but last week's losses to Bethlehem and Mohonasen pushed the Silver Warriors down to a fourth-place tie with Shaker.
Ormsbee said the motivation for Tuesday's performance against Shen came from last Saturday's 2-1 loss to county rival Mohonasen (3-4-1, 4.5 points). Cameron McDermott scored on a second-half penalty kick to give the Mighty Warriors the lead for good.
"That left a little bit of a bitter taste in the kids' mouths. They wanted to bounce back badly," said Ormsbee.
Niskayuna did just that against Shen (3-3-2, 6.5 points). Weeber gave the Silver Warriors the lead when he scored off Ryan Tauss' initial shot at the 28-minute mark. Patel then headed in a pass from Andrew Haber in the second half to make the score 2-0.
Goaltender Ahmad Salamah made several key saves to keep Shen off the scoreboard, including a save late in the first half on a shot that could have tied the game at 1.
"The kids played a little harder," said Ormsbee. "We played better defense, and we played a little better offense. We strung some passes together."