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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 2, 2006

Guilderland hockey

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland ice hockey team has gone on a late-season tear that has put it near the top of the Capital District High School Hockey League.

The Skating Dutchmen won three games in three days and were 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Their only loss was a non-league game going into Tuesday’s contest against Christian Brothers Academy.

The streak came to an end against CBA, but the Dutchmen are still in a great position in the league.

Guilderland beat Queensbury on Thursday night, Shaker-Colonie on Friday, and Bethlehem on Saturday.

"We’ve been playing great," said Guilderland Coach John DeRubertis. "Adam Gray has been fantastic. He certainly is one of the best goalies in the section."

Gray has been a wall in goal for the Dutchmen this season and proved it during the streak as he made 90 saves in the three games.

The Dutch have also been helped by an improving defense.

"The team is catching up with the speed of play on the varsity level," DeRubertis said. "I think the play of our defensemen has been beyond expectation. We have six defensemen but mainly four play. Three out of the four are sophomores. But they are stepping up and playing solid defense."

Quashing Queensbury

The Dutchmen started the streak with a big 4-3 win over Queensbury at Union College.

Guilderland scored four goals in the third period, including the game-winner with 27 seconds left in the contest.

Ben Fogel got the tying goal with assists from Tim Montgomery and Brian Tobin.

The goal came about a minute-and-a-half after Queensbury tied the game on a goal by Ryan Wilson.

Queensbury led, 1-0, after two periods but Guilderland tied the game early in the third.

Fogel scored with an assist from Montgomery and Aaron Cahill with 11:33 to go in the final stanza.

Queensbury took the lead on a goal by Matt Soprano, but Guilderland quickly tied the score on an unassisted tally by John Potts.

Cahill gave the Dutch the lead with 2:30 left in the game. Fogel and Montgomery assisted on the tally.

Gray made 23 saves in the contest including 11 in the third period.

Jilting the Jets

On Friday, the Dutchmen took on Shaker-Colonie at the Albany County Hockey Facility and beat the Jets, 5-1.

Guilderland got first-period goals from Cahill — unassisted — and Potts — assisted by Fogel and Montgomery.

Shaker-Colonie scored late in the first period to cut the deficit in half.

But Guilderland scored once in the second period and twice in the third period to pull out the win.

Havard Brustad, an exchange student from Finland, made the score 3-1. He was assisted by Colin Burg and Potts.

Montgomery scored both goals in the third period. His first goal was assisted by Fogel and Tobin, and his second tally was unassisted.

Gray made 27 saves for the Dutchmen in the contest.

Beating Bethlehem

The third win in a row came against rival Bethlehem for the Wooden Skate trophy. The Dutchman held on to the prize with a 4-1 win.

Guilderland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Brustad scored the first goal of the contest. His unassisted tally came 1:28 into the game.

Fogel made the score 2-0 at 5:20 into the contest. Cahill and Nick Koss assisted on the score.

Bethlehem scored in the second period. Matt Bub scored 1:33 into the period with an assist from Dan Royle.

But Dutchmen Cory Gillespie made it 3-1 with a tally about 30 seconds later. Gillespie was assisted by Kyle McKenty.

Tobin rounded out the scoring with a third-period tally. He was assisted by Potts.

Gray made a resounding 40 saves to fend off the Eagles and hold them to one goal.

Guilderland’s streak came to an end on Tuesday as CBA pounded the Dutch 6-0.

Gray continued to be a bright spot for the Skating Dutchmen. He made 27 saves for Guilderland.

Getting goals

Before Tuesday’s game, the Dutchmen were getting great goal production throughout the line-up.

"We are getting production from all three lines," DeRubertis said. "Our third line contributed against Bethlehem the other night. They are usually our penalty-killers and they have been great on the penalty kill. The other two lines have been scoring consistently."

The first line features Montgomery, Fogel, and Cahill. Potts, Brustad, and Burg are on the second line.

"Colin has stepped into a regular shift," DeRubertis said. "He certainly has a promising high-school career for hockey. He’s a gritty player for a freshman and he is playing beyond his years."

Montgomery, a senior captain, has been a big key on offense for the Dutchmen.

"Tim is coming back from a bad ankle," DeRubertis said. "He’s absolutely been a leader ever since he was on the team as an eighth-grader. I think this year, as a senior, he has been leading by example."

DeRubertis has been surprised by the way the team has played recently against league competitors. The Dutch struggled against a tough non-league schedule early in the season but have bounced back.

"I scheduled tough non-league games," DeRubertis said on Tuesday afternoon. "I knew it could make a difference in the section. We took our lumps in those games. A lot of teams, after not winning in the first nine or 10 games, could’ve gone through the motions. But we kept them aware that most of our league games were ahead of them. We did lose a couple of league games but then we beat Burnt Hills and South Glens Falls and went from there. We are now 6-2-1 and are right in the mix."

The Skating Dutchmen have garnered 13 points — two points for a league win with a team they play once and one for a team they play twice — and were tied for second place with Shenendehowa before Tuesday’s games. They are now 6-11-3 overall and 6-3-1 in the Capital District High School Hockey League.

The Dutchmen have two league games left and a non-league game against Bethlehem.

Guilderland travels to Glens Falls on Friday and hosts Shenendehowa on Feb. 11.

"When we had the win over Burnt Hills," DeRubertis said. "We didn’t say we were 1-9 overall but 1-1 in the league. And that proved to our benefit. And now we say we’re 6-2-1 and not 6-10-3. That is a big difference and the kids have the right perspective."

Guilderland gymnastics

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland gymnastics team has vaulted its way to being one of the better teams in Section II and has some high goals to finish out the season.

"The season has been excellent," said Coach Brenda Goodnight at practice on Monday. "We’ve beaten Bethlehem both times and Shaker both times. We have a loss to Saratoga and a meet with them tomorrow. Then we have our last home meet with Shenendehowa. We hope to beat them; it was close last time up there."

Guilderland lost to Shen by two points in a dual meet earlier this season.

The Lady Dutch won the Bethlehem Invitational where they scored better than Shen. They also finished third at the Shaker Invitational.

"That was the first meet of the year," Goodnight said of the Shaker meet. "The beginning of the season is tough. We got an outstanding performance from a core group of kids."

The Section II Individual All-around Meet is this Saturday.

Dana Goodnight, the coach’s daughter, was the all-around champion at the Shaker Invitational. She scored 131.5 to set a school record.

"We have a decent top five," Coach Goodnight said, "but I’m proud of the entire team. Everyone has improved from last year. Everybody really put a lot of time in and has worked really, really hard."

The team is young as only two seniors dot the roster.

Katie Greene and Krystal Myers are the only two in their final year at Guilderand and are two of the team’s co-captains.

Goodnight, a junior, is the other captain; she is one of three juniors on the team. The others are Claire Leonard and Jen Diana.

Erika Pesta is the lone sophomore on the team but there are six ninth-graders on the roster.

Kaleigh O’Hanlon, Kristina Cossingham, Heather Whitson, Kirsten Lomen, Corinne Chatnik, and Corrina Goutos are the ninth-graders.

Rachael Gallelli and Lauren Fehervari are eighth-graders on the team and Alexa Patnaude and Kristi Russell are seventh-graders on the squad.

Big team

The 18 athletes makes for one of the larger teams Goodnight has had.

"We had 21 kids that came out, so I had to cut a few," the coach said. "It’s hard to manage a large group of girls. I also wanted to give an opportunity to the girls that were on the the team last year to improve their skill level."

Goodnight is being helped out again this year by Mike McDonald, who used to be the head coach of the program.

"We have such a large group," Goodnight said. "But the only problem is that the middle-school kids don’t get here until we’re well into practice. They have a limited time to work out." Farnsworth Middle School is dismissed later than the high school.

Out of the 18 competitors, most have qualified to compete in sectionals. Fourteen have qualified for the vault alone.

Though Goodnight would say that vault isn’t the strongest of their events.

"We’ve been getting most of our points on bars," the coach said. "Last year, that was definitely one of our weaker events, but we worked at it. Vault might have the most kids qualify for sectionals but it’s not our highest scoring event. We have eight or nine girls that do bars and are really good at it. It’s the toughest event for high-school girls to do because of the strength and technique involved."

Guilderland also has a couple of athletes who have competed for area club teams and decided to come out for the team this year.

Dana Goodnight has been a member of World Class Gynmastics in Latham, where Brenda Goodnight has also coached, and Russell competes for Northeast Institute of Gymnastics in Albany.

"They have obvious skills that they bring to any high-school program," Brenda Goodnight said. "In high school, it’s more of a team concept. Club is so individual. Girls are trying to qualify for nationals on an individual basis. For most of these kids," she said of the Guilderland team members, "qualifying for sectionals is a big event."

Goodnight said that the girls who also participate in clubs bring skills that the other girls can learn from.

"It’s for the girls to see a different skill level," the coach said.

The club competitors also learn how to work in a team environment, which is what college teams focus on.

"There is a little bit of a different atmosphere," Goodnight said. "There is an element of college. Even though girls at the club level are friends, most of them attend different schools."

Lofty goals

Goodnight said the team has set some lofty goals for the remainder of the season. The Lady Dutch have their sights set for a high finish at sectionals.

"Our ultimate goal is for the team to win or finish second at sectionals," the coach said. "Saratoga is hard to beat. We have two or three club kids and they have six or eight."

The Lady Dutch have shown improvement in most of the events.

"I’ve seen growth now skill-wise," Goodnight said. "Even kids that didn’t compete in all four events are doing it this year. They have worked really, really hard."

And its that work ethic and a dedication by the Guilderland athletes that has led to the improvements.

"We’re looking to a strong end of the year," Goodnight said. "They are picking up the pace. I’ve given them Saturdays off and they get upset at me and I have to come in. But it shows where they are with the sport. They are a pretty good group of dedicated kids."

Guilderland girls' basketball

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Guilderland girls’ basketball coach Frank Cacckello wonders which team will show up — the one that has the talent to be one of the top teams in the Suburban Council and can beat Colonie or the one that gives up a 12-point lead in a loss to Shaker.

On Friday night, Cacckello got the latter team in the first half and the better team in the second half. The Lady Dutch beat Columbia, 44-34, after trailing at halftime.

"We challenged them at halftime," Cacckello said. "Really, we played one of our better games. We had a three-minute lapse in the second quarter. In the first half, our offense took 11 three-point shots and that is something we cannot do. I told the kids at halftime, we had to get the ball inside. We got the ball to Mary Kate [O’Connell] inside and that let us be able to work outside."

Guilderland trailed 22-19 at halftime as Columbia scored the last 11 points of the first half. The last Lady Dutch points of the first half came on a Kristin Pezze jump shot with 3:15 left. The basket gave the Dutch a eight-point lead, 19-11.

Then the Lady Devils just went on a tear.

Lauren Hayes made a three-point basket and Kaleigh Lussier made a jump shot, bringing the score to 19-15.

Lussier then scored on an inside basket and Amber Batzold made a jump shot with a minute left until the intermission to give Columbia the lead.

Lussier finished the first scoring after grabbing an offensive rebound with 22 seconds left.

"They are a tough matchup," Cacckello said of Columbia. "They are a different type of kid. They are tough to guard down low, but we held them to just eight points in the second half."

Taking over

The Lady Dutch gave up just four points in the third quarter and they took over the contest.

Mary Kate O’Connell scored inside for Guilderland but Lussier answered with an inside basket to keep the lead at three points.

Then Nikki Branchini stole the ball for Guilderland and went all the way to the basket for a lay-up and was fouled. Branchini converted the foul shot and the game was tied, 24-24.

Branchini broke the tie with 4:34 left in the third stanza with a foul shot. Later, she scored on a drive to the basket to put the Lady Dutch up by three points.

After a Columbia basket by Hayes cut the lead back to one point, Pezze made back-to-back three-pointers to completely swing the game in Guilderland’s favor.

Jessica Tice rounded out the scoring in the third period to make the score 35-26.

Guilderland gave up eight points in the fourth quarter, but scored nine to keep the advantage.

Strong defense

Defense has been Guilderland’s strength for most of the season though the team has worked a lot on offense. in practice.

"It’s hard to explain," Cacckello said. "We have the kids and we have the offense, but I don’t know why we don’t score more. Our defense might take a lot out of our offense. We put so much energy into it. We try to be balanced."

And Branchini was the leader of the defense as she had four steals in the second half.

"She gives us a spark on the defensive end," Cacckello said. "She was spectacular in the second half — on both ends. She started to take the ball to the hole. She might not fill up the stat sheet but she does a lot of things for us."

The Lady Dutch also got great defense from Tice.

"The kid she shut down was very good," Cacckello said.

Tice, a senior, has some Division II basketball programs looking at her, Cacckello said.

Pezze led the Lady Dutch with 12 points.

"She is such a good shooter," Cacckello said, "but she needs to go to the hoop more."

Tice scored 10 points for Guilderland, Branchini added nine, and O’Connell chipped in eight.

Lussier led Columbia with 12 points and Kaylyn Smith added seven.

"Right where we want to be"

The win improves the Dutch’s record to 9-6 overall and 7-4 in the Suburban Council.

Guilderland won a tough road game at Ballston Spa, 32-28, on Jan. 20 but lost to Shaker, 41-40, on Jan. 17 after holding a double-digit lead.

"Against Shaker, we blew a 12-point lead," Cacckello said. "We did not blow the lead with turnovers; our offense got us into trouble by taking too many outside shots."

The sectionals are right around the corner, but Guilderland still has three games to go to finish the regular season. The Lady Dutch hosted Saratoga on Tuesday, beating the Blue Streaks, 51-30.

Rachel Rabbin and Tice led the way with 13 points. Pezze and O’Connell added nine points each.

Guilderland then hosts Shenendehowa on Friday.

The Dutch then will play in the Suburban Council Tournament, in the second tier of teams after playing in the league-championship game last winter.

Guilderland then wraps up the season with a trip to Saratoga on Feb. 14.

Cacckello likes the position his team sits in right now as sectionals approach. The Lady Dutch have accumulated enough points to earn a high seed for the playoffs. The Lady Dutch earn two points for every non-Suburban Council Blue Division team they beat and one point for a divisional win. The league tournament has no bearing on sectional seeding.

"We’re right where we want to be," Cacckello said. "We’re in the three slot. We got two points for our win because we only play them once.

"We’ve had some ups and downs," Cacckello added. "Many people love to talk when they look at our record. There’s nothing going on with this team. We just get up and down."

Voorheesville boys' basketball

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville boys’ basketball team had many highs and lows in Tuesday night’s game against Schalmont.

The Blackbirds built an 11-point lead in the second quarter and then watched it fade to a deficit before finally pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 60-48 win in Rotterdam.

"Schalmont has a good program," said Voorheesville Coach Don Catellier. "Their kids are tough. They battled us all night long.

"But I didn’t think there would be any bloodshed," Catellier added with a chuckle.

The bloodshed came in the second quarter when Schalmont lost one of its top players — Josh Catino. Catino drove to the hoop and collided with Voorheesville’s Mike Hopper.

Catino got up but staggered to the sideline where he collapsed and was bleeding from his head. Catino was later seen with a bandage wrapped around his head standing inside the gym.

"Josh is a big part of their offense," Catellier said. "But they had other guys that hurt us."

Towering team

Blackbirds Nick Duncan hurt Schalmont early. He scored 12 points in the first quarter all down in the low post as Voorheesville took a 22-16 lead after the first frame.

"That was the game plan and we knew we could get it inside," Catellier said. "With the size we have, we knew we had the advantage and we did a great job."

Duncan, Evan Christner, and Hopper towered over the tallest of Schalmont’s players.

Greg Klopfer was Duncan’s sidekick in the opening stanza, scoring 10 points on strong drives to the basket and a three-pointer.

Schalmont kept the game close and only trailed by five points at halftime, 35-30.

But Schalmont tied the game, 37-37, with 5:15 left in the third quarter.

Luke Quay made a steal and went all the way to the basket for a lay-up and was fouled. Quay converted the foul shot to tie the game.

But Voorheesville answered. Klopfer made a foul shot and, after Duncan blocked a shot, he got the ball on the offensive end and converted an inside basket to put the Birds up by three points, 40-37.

Duncan then added a foul shot before Schalmont scored again — on two foul shots by Jack Macejka.

Duncan scored on another inside basket, which was quickly answered on a drive to the basket by Schalmont’s Nick Castiglia to keep the lead to two points.

But Voorheesville got another basket by one of its leaders. Klopfer, a senior co-captain, made a three-pointer to build the lead to five points with 2:05 left in the third quarter.

Schalmont showed its resiliency and Bill Iachetta’s three-pointer at the third-period buzzer made it a two-point game, 46-44.

Grand finale

Schalmont tied the game early in the fourth quarter on a jump shot by Quay. But Voorheesville broke the tie a few seconds later on a foul shot by Evan Christner.

Schalmont took the lead, 48-47, on a leaning jump shot by Macejka with 5:04 left in the game.

It would be the last points of the game for the Sabres.

And, as the Birds held Schalmont scoreless over the last five minutes, they scored 13 points.

Christner, a sophomore, scored on back-to-back inside baskets, and Klopfer made a three-pointer to make the score, 54-48.

Klopfer and Christner added two-point baskets and Justin Arico made two free throws to round out the scoring.

"The lead is never safe," Catellier said. "But I have great confidence in my seniors. They have faced adversity. Last year, we were down 15 points in the state regional and we battled back to win. But they make me nervous at times."

Klopfer led the Blackbirds with 22 points. Many of his points came when Schalmont was making a run.

"Greg was not going to let us lose," Catellier said. "Tonight, that was a great thing to have. The seniors tonight were great. The whole crew worked."

Duncan scored 19 points and Christner finished the game with nine points.

Macejka led Schalmont with 13 points and Bryan Wotherspoon added nine.

Wotherspoon was in foul trouble for most of the second half and was hounded by Voorheesville defenders.

"We did a good job on defense," Catellier said. "Andy [Catellier] started on him and Justin Arico, Chris Thompson, and Rob Bareis guarded him. They all did a great job."

What’s next"

The Blackbirds are now 12-4 overall and 11-3 in the Colonial Council. They have four games to go to reach their goal of winning the league.

The Blackbirds will host Cohoes on Friday and try to avenge an early-season loss. The Birds will then host Watervliet on Tuesday before finishing the season at Broadalbin-Perth on Feb. 10 and at Cobleskill on Feb. 14.

With the win on Tuesday, the Birds continue to be on top of the Colonial Council.

"What these kids have is heart," Catellier said. "Our goal was to hold teams under 40 points, we’re undefeated when we hold a team to under 50 points. That is way too many points. But I can’t complain; we are making great plays."

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