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Sunday, June 7, 2015: Niskayuna scores breakthrough victory

   Leading off today: Niskayuna's 13-10 win over West Genesee in the NYSPHSAA boys Class A lacrosse final Saturday gave Section 2 its first championship in the sport.

   "It's an honor to be able to do it and be the last team standing in Class A," senior midfielder John Prendergast told The Times Union.

   Midfielders accounted for 12 of Niskayuna's 13 goals, with Aidan O'Brien scoring five, Prendergast netting four and had four and Lucas Quinn contributing a hat trick.

   "I am speechless," O'Brien said. "This game was amazing. I couldn't ask for a better ending."

   O'Brien scored three goals in the second quarter to help stake the Silver Warriors to an 8-6 advantage at the half. West Genesee's Matt McDonald cut the margin to 8-7, but Niskayuna answered with a 3-0 spurt to close out the third quarter leading 11-7.

   Boys Class B: Victor capped its perfect season by dominating early and posting a 17-8 triumph over Manhasset in the final at Vestal. The Blue Devils scored less than 30 seconds into the game and led 8-0 after the first quarter. Manhasset never got closer than four goals the rest of the way.

   "We wanted to come out quickly," coach Jim Andre told The Daily Messenger. "Long Island teams are about possession and controlling the game. We knew we had to push the ball to compete with those guys."

   Dan Barrow scored six goals to lead Victor, while his brother Pat Barrow added a goal and three assists. Jamie Trimboli scored all three of his goals in the decisive first quarter and added four assists, and Drew Collins also finished with a hat trick. Junior T.D. Ierlan won 20 of 28 faceoffs.

   The wins by Niskayuna and Victor marked only the second time since 2005 that teams from north of Section 1 took two state titles in the sport.

   "It's a huge step for the program," Andre said. "I think today we sent a message from all of Section 5 that there's some really great lacrosse here and upstate."

   Boys Class C: Sophomore Taylor Strough scored four goals, all set up by Matt Licciardi -- who also had a goal and was 15-of-21 on faceoffs -- as Cold Spring Harbor edged Cazenovia 9-8.

   "I've always dreamed of winning one of these and dreams come true," Strough told Newsday after CSH wrapped up its first championship since 2007.

   With Licciardi winning faceoffs, the Seahawks scored three unanswered in the second quarter and extended its lead to 6-3 on a Licciardi man-up goal with 7:23 left in the third quarter.

   "We knew Cazenovia was going to come out in a zone so our coaches just had us practicing our set," Licciardi said. "It just worked out that we had the 2-on-1 constantly. I just drew my man and (Strough) has a great shot."

   Cazenovia pushed late and had a potential game-tying possession in the final 30 seconds, but senior Will Doyle came up big by making three more of his 10 saves.

   "I couldn’t even tell you what was going through my mind," Doyle said. "I just had to make those last three saves. Luckily they hit my body and I made them."

   Section 11 sweeps: The day in Cortland could not have gone any better for Suffolk County girls lacrosse as West Islip, Eastport-South Manor and Mount Sinai swept the championships.

   A last-second Suffern free-position attempt sailed wide, giving West Islip a 10-9 win in the Class A final and its first NYSPHSAA trophy. Lena Riportella's goal with 2:07 left proved to be the winner.


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  •    Suffern took a 4-2 lead midway through the first half, but West Islip scored five straight -- two by Alyssa Gillespie -- to lade a 7-4 halftime lead. Suffern ran off three straight goals to start the second half and went up 9-8 on Dana Gisonno's score with 10:43 to play. West Islip tied less than three minutes later, and Riportella came through with the winner.

       "That final buzzer, when we won," senior defender Kaitlyn Viviano told Newsday, "it was the best feeling of my life."

       In Class B, junior Kaeli Huff erupted for a season-high six goals in E-SM's 15-8 win over Somers for its first New York championship.

       "I can't thank my teammates enough," said Huff, who rang up a hat trick in the contest's first seven minutes. "Everything I do is because of my teammates. A stop on defense, a draw control, an assist. I have to thank them all for that."

       Samantha Giacolone, a six-year starter who'll attend Notre Dame in the fall, made nine saves in goal.

       "We've been trying to make our mark for the longest time," Giacolone said. "Doing it my senior year, with these girls and just proving to people that Eastport-South Manor does exist, we are a great team and we can compete with a Garden City, a Manhasset, a Wantagh, and good upstate teams, it's amazing. It's amazing to leave that mark on my school."

       In Class C, senior captains Kasey Mitchell (four goals) and Sydney Pirreca (three goals, one assist) did most of the damage in Mount Sinai's 8-5 win over Honeoye Falls-Lima.

       "The leadership that this senior class exhibited, in my 34 years of coaching, was just some of the best I've ever had," coach Al Bertolone said. "This senior class took it to another level. They led these young kids, brought them along. They taught them how to deal with the pressure of being in a championship program."

       Live football fine-tuning: Aquinas quarterback Jake Zembiec, the NYSSWA's 2013 Class AA player of the year, is in Los Angeles this weekend for the Nike-run Elite 11 Quarterback Campetition semifinals in.

       If you're interested in watching, we've set up a page with the live feed of Sunday's activities from 1-5 p.m.

       More to come: I'll be back later Sunday with a wrapup of other highlights from the next-to-last New York high school sports weekend of the 2014-15 season.

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