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 college successful streak, Niskayuna averaged 31 factors a recreation, however on Friday night time the Silver Warriors discovered one other method to maintain their soccer season magic going.

Division II champions stored 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 recreation held at Shenindehua Excessive Faculty.

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

“I am unable to imagine 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 recreation 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 are a well-coached crew. Defensively, they held us and took what we had been making an attempt to do. That is what an excellent soccer crew does. Fortunately our protection performed nicely, and stored us within the recreation.”

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 sturdy 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 aim try to finish the second quarter.

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

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

“The protection performed superb,” mentioned Pendergast. “I’ve mentioned this lots, I feel it is our bodily power that wins video games. They went into the purple 3 times, we bought 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 bought 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 among the finest 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 originally of the yr,” mentioned Grastorff, whose crew misplaced two of their first three video games. “Contained in the locker room, we knew we had been a gifted group. We needed to develop, and we did. We’re completely on our manner now and proceed to show everyone flawed. First time in a state championship playoff, and performed towards a crew that is been there 14 occasions, perhaps he thought.” Everybody throughout the state, “No shot.”

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

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