Niscayonna's defense helps keep the soccer team's dream season alive

Niscayonna’s defense helps keep the soccer team’s dream season alive

CLIFTON PARK — Throughout their eight-game faculty profitable streak, Niskayuna averaged 31 factors a sport, however on Friday night time the Silver Warriors discovered one other approach to maintain their soccer season magic going.

Division II champions saved Division V Canandaigua Academy (Rochester Area) off the scoreboard till the final minute, and Neskuna held on to a 14-7 win within the Division I state quarterfinal playoff sport held at Shenindehua Excessive Faculty.

The Silver Warriors (10-2), of their first look within the state playoffs, will maintain a nine-game profitable streak in a gathering with Division I (Hudson Valley) Summers at 6 p.m. Friday at Middletown Excessive Faculty.

“I can not consider we’re right here proper now,” mentioned senior linebacker Gavin Pendergast, who was named Niskina’s Excellent Defensive Participant. “It is nice to be within the quarter-finals.”

Niskayuna added to their single-season complete in wins with a stingy protection, which held Canandaigua (9-3) to 2.5 yards per sport till Tysheed Crockton’s 62-yard reception from Drew Williamee with 56.5 seconds left gave the Braves a glimmer of hope.

Nescayonna’s subsequent kick was recovered by Dahvion Wimberley to quell the risk.

“They deliberate us nicely,” mentioned Canandaigua coach Jeff Welch. “They seem to be a well-coached crew. Defensively, they held us and took what we have been attempting to do. That is what a great soccer crew does. Fortunately our protection performed nicely, and saved us within the sport.”

Crocton, who rushed for 310 yards final week within the Braves’ sectional victory, was restricted to 62 yards on 18 carries. Canandaigua didn’t have a play longer than 15 yards till a final minute TD run.

“We’re robust throughout the board on protection,” mentioned Niskina coach Brian Grastorff. “We’re quick, up entrance we’re bodily and robust, and nice flirts. They have some studs in there, and we have packed them in till they lastly eliminate them.”

The Silver Warriors scored on their first offensive collection. A 64-yard cross from Ethan Gilson to Cameron Grasso accomplished a three-play, 70-yard drive, which ended up being the one scoring of the primary half. Niskayuna kicker Cooper Harvey hit the crossbar on a 35-yard area objective try to finish the second quarter.

Canandaigua entered Niskayuna territory 5 instances earlier than a late TD and was shut out every time.

“It is enormous to get stops like that,” Grassdorf mentioned. “We have seen a number of (two) turnovers ourselves, however turnovers on down intervals are nearly as good as employees turnover.”

“The protection performed wonderful,” mentioned Pendergast. “I’ve mentioned this rather a lot, I feel it is our bodily energy that wins video games. They went into the purple thrice, we obtained our backs on the wall, and we managed to cease them there.”

Offensively, Niskayuna did sufficient to take management of the match. The Silver Warriors opened the second half with a four-play, 35-yard drive—after a brief Canandaigua punt—that ended with Gilson’s 28-yard TD hit to tight finish Dan Miller.

“We have been on it for the longest time,” Gilson mentioned. “The tight finish, Dan Miller, I just like the man a lot. He deserves that landing. It was a faux throw, which I obtained the free security, after which he simply opened up in the course of the sphere.”

Good man Isaiah Lehner was the offensive workhorse, carrying 26 catches for 149 yards. Drives of 23 and 25 yards within the fourth quarter to assist Niskayuna set the time.

“I do not even know the way I really feel proper now,” mentioned Gilson. “I’m in awe of this. This is without doubt one of the greatest moments of my life. The protection does its job, fights laborious, after which the offense does simply sufficient to win the sport.”

“No person thought we might do something firstly of the 12 months,” mentioned Grastorff, whose crew misplaced two of their first three video games. “Contained in the locker room, we knew we have been a proficient group. We needed to develop, and we did. We’re completely on our method now and proceed to show everyone fallacious. First time in a state championship playoff, and performed in opposition to a crew that is been there 14 instances, possibly he thought.” Everybody throughout the state, “No shot.”

Pete Dougherty is a contract author. He could be reached at [email protected]

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