Guilderland lacrosse falls to Colonie, young players learn from mistakes
GUILDERLAND — Under dark clouds and amid high winds, a storm was brewing on Guilderland’s lacrosse field Tuesday as the home team attempted to tie up a close game against Colonie in the final minutes. To the Dutchmen’s dismay, it more or less shot itself in the foot.
Just after Guilderland Head Coach Sean McConaghy had told his bench that “we’re all making mistakes out there,” a penalty was called on Colonie. Senior Brad Johnston scored his fifth goal of the contest on the man advantage to pull the Dutch within two goals, 12 to 10.
From that point on, Guilderland turned the ball over four times, and committed two penalties. The Dutch didn’t get that close to scoring, and Colonie escaped with an important road victory.
The Red Raiders, coming into Guilderland hot after a huge win over Shaker, was talented enough to force the Dutchmen into some mistakes, but McConaghy said after the game that some of the errors were self-inflicted because his team is starting some inexperienced players.
“Young kids make mistakes,” McConaghy said. “That’s what they’re going to do.”
Defensively, Guilderland is starting players who have little to no varsity understanding. Multiple times throughout Tuesday’s game, Colonie players kept getting free above the Dutch’s goal crease, and that led to a few goals.
“We’re trying to figure it all out with the young guys and us seniors,” said Johnston, who was left regretting a turnover on the sidelines; he scored five goals for the Dutch. “We need to tighten up on defense, take care of the ball, and get it over midfield with less trouble.”
Even though Coach McConaghy expects his young players to make some mistakes early in the season, there are some new players who are making leaps and bounds. For example, freshman Joe Foley is taking face-offs for the Dutch, and he won 16 of them on Tuesday.
“He’s learning all the ins and outs, and doing great,” McConaghy said.
Senior Marcus Knodler, who would be taking face-offs for Guilderland if he weren’t injured for the rest of the season, has been teaching Foley some techniques, McConaghy said.
“He’s a stud,” Johnston said of Foley.
However, Guilderland probably would have preferred to turn more of Foley’s face-off wins into goals on Tuesday.
Coach McConaghy doesn’t expect his players to be flawless all game long, he said, but he also doesn’t anticipate seniors like Johnston, Jake Smith, and Jeff Easley to make many blunders either.
“It’s been great because they’re learning every day,” McConaghy said. “The mistakes are fine as long as they’re learning from them.”
Also, at the end of the day on Tuesday, Guilderland was 3-1 on the season. Colonie had athletes making plays all over the field, and the team scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter, so much credit goes to the Red Raiders, McConaghy said.
The Dutchmen have wins over Queensbury, Bethlehem, and Columbia. Tuesday was Guilderland’s first game on natural grass.
“We’re young, that is all it comes down to,” Johnston said. “We’ll continue to learn, but we’ll always put up one hell of a fight.”