Amsterdam Ball control proved to be the difference between Niskayuna and Shenendehowa in Saturday's Section II Class A boys lacrosse final.
The Silver Warriors possessed the ball for the second half of the third quarter and almost all of the fourth quarter, and that sealed their 17-11 victory over the Plainsmen in the third meeting between the two Suburban Council powers.
True, Niskayuna also closed the game by outscoring Shen 8-2. But it was because of the Silver Warriors' ability to win face-offs and stick skills that set them apart from the Plainsmen.
"The big thing was winning face-offs, and our defense stepped up big," said Niskayuna junior attacker Luke Goldstock, who scored four goals and assisted on five more.
Shen won the majority of the face-offs in the first half, which helped the Plainsmen stay close. Once that changed in the second half, Niskayuna assumed control on the scoreboard.
"We were winning some draws, but we didn't win the ground balls," said Shen coach Chuck Holohan. "They were beating us to almost every loose ball."
Shen raced out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter on two goals by Joe Romano and individual markers from D.J. Edick and Mike Jenkins. Niskayuna responded by scoring the final four goals of the period to grab a 5-4 lead. Lucas Maloney had the last two tallies -- the first when he took advantage of a failed Shen defensive clear, and the second when he converted a pass from Blake Pfohl with 11.5 seconds left in the period.
Maloney got the natural hat trick when he scored to open the second quarter. The two sides traded goals the rest of the period, which left Niskayuna with an 8-7 halftime lead.
Brian Rogers powered his way through the Niskayuna defense and scored 44 seconds into the third quarter to tie the score at 8 for Shen, but Matt Sexton responded with a goal 13 seconds later to put the Silver Warriors ahead 9-8. Edick then tied the score at 9 when he tallied on a two-man advantage for the Plainsmen.