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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 4, 2006

Voorheesville softball

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville softball team has put itself in a tough position as the stretch run of the season looms.

The Blackbirds lost to Lansingburgh, 3-0, in a Colonial Council game to fall to 3-6 in the league putting their post-season hopes in jeopardy. Teams must finish with a .500 or better record in their league to qualify for the playoffs.

"We have some days where we don’t bring our best game and that hurts us," said Voorheesville Coach Matt Fiato. "We’re going to have to fight to get into the sectionals."

The Lady Blackbirds have lost two games in a row after posting a pair of big wins against league foes. The biggest victory came during school break with a win after traveling to play Broadalbin-Perth, the defending Class B Section II champion and state semifinalist.

"At that point, we were playing good ball," Fiato said. "Our confidence was high. But we had a little bit of a lay-off because of spring break."

The Blackbirds only played two games last week because of the weather. They beat Ravena in extra innings but lost to Schalmont. During the spring break, Voorheesville beat Watervliet and Broadalbin-Perth and split two games at the Herkimer Tournament, beating North Shore of Long Island.

"At the Herkimer Tournament, the first game kind of got out of hand," Fiato said. "We put in our relief pitcher. We came back in the second game against North Shore and won 5-2. We played a solid game. We beat Ravena, 4-3, in 10 innings but against Schalmont we were flat and they took it to us that day."


Against Lansingburgh on Monday, the Blackbirds couldn’t get the bats going until the later innings as they had trouble solving pitcher Erin Glikes.

"We started hitting the ball towards the end," Fiato said. "But we hit it right at girls. Our best hits of the day were outs."

Lansingburgh took the lead in the top half of the third inning, but Voorheesville looked like it was going to tie the game in the fourth frame.

With one out, Jenna Massaroni reached first base on an error by the Lansingburgh third baseman. Massaroni stole second to put herself in scoring position for the next hitter Amanda DeZalia. DeZalia hit the ball hard but right at Lansingburgh shortstop Sarah Cipperly for an out. Jillian Blair then struck out to end the inning and the Blackbirds’ threat.

The Blackbirds had another chance to score in the fifth when they had runners on first and second with one out.

Sarah LaFave reached first on a single and move to second on a wild pitch. Brittany Holcomb hit a little looper between third base and left field for a single but LaFave couldn’t advance.

But then Brittany Vogel struck out and Claire Gravelin hit a pop-up to the shortstop to end the threat.

Lansingburgh scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning, but the Birds battled in the bottom half of the frame.

Rebekkah Coons led off the inning with a single but was forced on a fielder’s choice that allowed Massaroni to reach first base. Massaroni advanced to second on a wild pitch.

Then back-to-back walks to DeZalia and Blair loaded the bases for Voorheesville.

But then Glikes struck out Brittany Weineinger and LaFave looking, to end the inning and to keep the Knights’ lead safe.

"She’s a freshman," Fiato said of Glikes. "It’s the first time we’ve faced her. She did an excellent job. It’s her second start in as many games and she shut out Ravena and she shut us out."

LaFave was in the pitching circle for the Blackbirds. She pitched well but gave up five hits and walked 11 batters, including three in the sixth inning when Lansingburgh scored two runs. She did strike out eight batters and was backed by a stout defense.

"We had no errors," Fiato said. "We were solid in the field. But we had nine or 10 walks. Sarah had some control issues and the umpire was not giving us calls. It was a tough day in terms of that.

Dashed expectations

"We’ve given some games away with errors," Fiato said. "Our expectations were high coming into the season. "

The Blackbirds started the season with an 0-4 record.

"We lost the first game to Lansingburgh when a girl hit a double to end the game," Fiato said. "We were up, 6-1, against Cobleskill and they scored a bunch of runs on one hit and five errors. That put us behind the eight ball. We dug ourselves a hole we had to climb out of. And today we climbed back in it."

The Blackbirds played Cohoes on Wednesday. Voorheesville then hosts Broadalbin-Perth on Friday and Mechanicville on Monday. The Birds also have to make up a game against Holy Names.

Fiato feels this team has the talent to work its way back to a playoff spot.

"We need to get timely hitting, pitching, and solid defense," the coach said. "We need to get them on a regular basis. We need to have all three in the same game. We get two out of three in each game.

"But I definitely feel like we have a lot of talent," Fiato added. "We have a lot of returning players and a good junior-varsity team. I think the future looks good. But, on varsity, you concentrate on the now."

Guilderland boys’ lacrosse

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland boys’ lacrosse team survived a late scare by Shenendehowa on Tuesday night for its fourth consecutive win over the Plainsmen.

The Dutchmen led, 6-1, after three periods and held on for a 7-4 win under the lights of the football field at the high school.

"It’s great to beat Shen under the lights," said Guilderland Coach Sean McConaghy. "It was a big game for these guys."

The Dutch were led by a tough defense that gave up only one goal in three quarters. The Dutch also won the game without one of their leaders — senior Mike Camardo — who is out with an ankle injury.

"The best part of this was Mike was on the sidelines," McConaghy said. "He’s not going to be here next year. The younger kids believe they can win without him."

The Dutchmen dominated the contest through the first three periods and jumped out to the lead with 10:47 left in the first quarter.

Defenseman Scott Raffensperger scored the first goal after getting the ball on a clear from the defensive end and running through the Shen team to fire a shot past Shenendehowa goalie Alex Bayer.

Shen tied the game with 2:39 left in the opening stanza on a tally by John Olsen who had a one-versus-one with the goalie after a Guilderland defender slipped.

But Guilderland bounced back less than a minute later when Matt Stillman scored after getting a great pass to the front of the goal from Bob McIver.

Guilderland tagged on a goal in the second quarter. Ben Newell scored with 10:05 left in the second stanza with an assist from Aaron Cahill on a man-up opportunity after a Shenendehowa penalty.

Guilderland dominated possession in the second quarter but could not connect on any more scoring opportunities and went into the intermission with a 3-1 lead.

"Defense came to play"

The Dutchmen finally found the back of the net in the third quarter.

Uriah Myrie scored the first goal of the period with 3:03 left. Myrie finished off another great feed from McIver in front of the goal to put Guilderland up, 4-1.

Newell scored his second extra-man goal of the contest. This time Newell scored after cutting to the goal and receiving a pass from McIver with 2:16 left in the quarter.

McIver finally got a tally of his own with 42 seconds left in the third period. McIver got the ball behind the cage and, instead of passing the ball, worked around to the front and fired a shot past Bayer.

But Shen wouldn’t go away and made things interesting for the Dutchmen.

Olsen scored his second goal of the game with 11:45 left in the final stanza. Greg Hitchko added a goal with an assist from Mitch Dewein to cut the lead in half, 6-3, with 6:41 to go in the game.

Stillman answered for the Dutch with an unassisted goal with 6:14 left in the contest.

Olsen picked up his third goal with five minutes left in the game, this time with an assist from Kyle Walsh.

Shen trailed by a score of 7-4 but would not get any closer as Guilderland held the ball on offense and got solid defense and superb goaltending by Judd Robinson.

Robinson finished the contest with 12 saves and Bayer made 13 saves for Shen.

The Dutch also got a great performance from Jordan Dubose on face-offs to start the offense.

"It helped that Jordan won all those face-offs," McConaghy said. "Jordan came to play and we were able to get on them early."

The Guilderland defense was also phenomenal for most of the contest.

"The defense came to play," McConaghy said. "They [Shen] moved the ball well, but our guys never gave them anything."

The Dutch also stayed out of the penalty box, getting called for just three fouls in the contest.

Young talent

Guilderland is getting good play from its younger players and that made it easier to fill in for the injured Camardo.

"The sophomores and juniors are starting to step it up," McConaghy said. "We are just trying to do some things to make people replaceable. Not that you can replace Mike. Aaron Cahill did a great job of taking the wing [on face-offs] and getting ground balls. Next year, we won’t have Mike and Bob and Judd and Sean. We need players X, Y, and Z to step up."

The win bumped the Dutch’s record to 11-2 overall and 8-1 in the Suburban Council. They have five more games to go before the end of the regular season.

The Dutch will play Colonie today (Thursday), Columbia on Tuesday, and Bethlehem next Thursday. Guilderland wraps up the season with games against at Saratoga on May 16 and Niskayuna on May 18.

"We still have Colonie and Columbia, which has one loss, coming up," McConaghy said. "We also have Saratoga and Niskayuna. Our season can change like that. We have to keep the train rolling and be playing our best heading into sectionals."

Guilderland girls’ lacrosse

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team could not get around the stonewall that was Bethlehem’s Emily Szelest in Tuesday’s showdown between the two top teams in the Suburban Council.

Goalkeeper Szelest, who is bound for Penn State University to play lacrosse next year, stopped 13 shots, six in the second half to lead the Eagles to a 10-8 win over Guilderland at Bethlehem High School.

The loss was the first for Guilderland in league play this season. Bethlehem avenged an earlier 11-10 loss to the Lady Dutch.

"Their goalie was outstanding," said Guilderland Coach Gary Chatnik. "But they also worked to get ground balls more than us. This was not our best effort."

Guilderland was also a victim of a late first-half scoring surge. Bethlehem scored the last five goals of the half to take a 6-3 halftime lead.

Guilderland led, 3-1, after a goal by Kayla Best with 7:55 left in the opening half. Best’s goal was assisted by Lauren Driessen.

Halley Quillinan led the Bethlehem charge with the first two goals of the run. Her first tally came with 4:50 remaining and the second — which was assisted by Tee Ladouceur — came with 2:58 left in the first frame.

Quillinan assisted on the next goal, which was scored by Cate Quinlan with 2:09 left. Ladouceur scored then, a free position goal after a Guilderland foul deep in their territory with 1:38 left. That brought the score to 5-3.

Bethlehem got another free position goal to round out the scoring in the first half. This time, Michelle Primomo scored with 26 seconds left in the half.

Guilderland got goals from Amanda Best and Kaitlyn Vennard in the first half. Vennard’s goal was a well placed shot between the legs of Szelest and gave the Dutch a 3-1 lead.

Quillinan scored the first goal of the game with an assist from Ladouceur.

"Very erratic"

Guilderland got the first goal of the second half as Molly Daley scored just 43 seconds in. She was assisted by Kayla Best.

But Bethlehem answered with goals from Quillinan with 23:22 left and by Ladouceur with 22:389 left in the second half. Ladouceur’s goal was assisted by Quinlan.

Abbey Fashouer kept Guilderland’s hopes of victory alive with 12:08 left in the contest. She scored on an unassisted bounce shot that snuck by Szelest.

The tally made the score 8-5 in favor of Bethlehem.

But Bethlehem came right back with two goals to take a five-goal lead.

Ladouceur scored on a free position with 10:05 left in the game and Tricia Primomo added a free position goal with 8:51 left to make the score 10-5.

The Dutch scored the final three goals of the contest to give themselves a chance.

Kayla Best scored with 4:45 left to give Guilderland a glimmer of hope.

Valerie Feldman then added two goals for the Lady Dutch. The first came when she stole the ball from Szelest, left of the goal, and fired a shot on the wide-open goal to cut the lead to three, 10-7, with 4:04 left.

But the Dutch couldn’t get any more shots past Szelest until Feldman scored on a free position with 29 seconds left in the game; by then, Bethlehem had the game pretty much sealed.

Szelest made three big saves — two on free positions — on low shots to preserve the lead and give her team the win.

Guilderland goalie Jen Kaye made three saves.

"We were very erratic today," Chatnik said. "We handled the ball poorly. I give credit to Bethlehem; their players wanted the ball more than us.

Even league

"We didn’t have our best type effort," Chatnik added. "I saw some things we have to work on. But this was an excellent game between two evenly-matched teams."

Chatnik was impressed with the play of Quillinan who finished the game with four goals.

"Halley showed a lot today," the coach said. "She shows a lot every game. But she was a big focal point for us. We did a good job on her in the second half but the rest of her team stepped up."

The loss drops the Lady Dutch’s record to 11-3 overall and 8-1 in the Suburban Council.

Guilderland still has four games remaining — all league contests — before it heads into sectionals as probably one of the top two seeds. The Dutch play host Shenendehowa today (Thursday) and Averill Park on Saturday. Guilderland then will travel to play Ballston Spa on Monday and at Shaker next Friday to wrap up the regular season.

The Dutch will need to win the rest of their games to be near the top of the league, but it won’t be easy.

"The whole league is very even," Chatnik said. "We’ve played a lot of close games. We like to keep things interesting it seems. Teams come at us with their best and I think there are six teams that are pretty even.

"I really believe we’ve not had an easy game with any of those six teams," Chatnik added. "And, until someone else beats Bethlehem, they are still the best team. I think we have the talent to do it."

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