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Saturday, May 28, 2016: Defending state champ Niskayuna ousted in lacrosse

   Leading off today: Sophomore midfielder Matt Stucchi scored seven goals Friday as Shenendehowa defeated defending state champion Niskayuna 15-14 for the Section 2 boys Class A lacrosse championship.

   The teams were tied at 11 after three quarters before Stucchi scored three consecutive goals for a 14-11 advantage with 2:47 left. Niskayuna senior middie Dylan Pantalone responded with back-to-back goals 15 seconds apart to make it a one-goal game with 1:16 to go, but Stucchi followed with the last of his seven goals.

   "He's their best player," Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang told The Times Union. "Seven goals in a sectional championship game is an unbelievable accomplishment. He's going to play at Loyola for a reason."

   Niskayuna had won 81 straight games vs. Section 2 opponents since a loss to the Plainsmen in the 2011 championship game.

   Shen will meet Section 1 champ Lakeland/Panas in the first round of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament on Wednesday. Lakeland/Panas won 10-7 when the teams faced off April 23.

   Big softball rally: Depew rallied from five runs down and earned its third walkoff victory of the postseason with a 7-6 triumph vs. Eden in the Section 6 Class B title game.

   Andrea Taboni raced home on two errors for the winning run.

   "Our team always believes we're going to come back," pitcher Karsen Cotton told The Buffalo News.

   More softball: Fort Ann pitcher Molly Bailey allowed a grand total of 10 hits over four Section 2 finals from 2012-15. Her sister Kayla got a healthy start on surpassing that feat by throwing a no-hitter in a 2-0 win over Hartford for the program's sixth straight Class D crown.

   The freshman struck out eight and capped the performance with a three-pitch seventh inning. She outdueled Bailey Hasemann, who threw a one-hitter at the Cardinals, striking out 10 and walking one.

   The Cardinals (21-0) advance to play Section 7 champ Crown Point on Friday in the NYSPHSAA tournament.

   Boys track and field: Not many high schools can boast of two seniors who'll be heading off to service academies over the summer. James I. O'Neill put its dynamic duo to good use -- a sweep of the 400 through 3,200 meters -- for its first Section 9 boys championship since 1975.

   The Raiders edged Ellenville 144-142½.

   West Point-bound Liam Neary won the 400 run (a repeat), 800 and 1,600 meters. Miles Isenhour, headed to the Air Force Academy, repeated in the 3,200.

   Girls track and field: Rush-Henrietta junior Sammy Watson won the 400 meters in the Pre Classic in Eugene, Ore. She ran a season-best of :53.21, which ranks fifth in the U.S. this Spring.

   Sterling Lester of Georgia was second in :53.50.

   Some championship nuggets: When Caledonia-Mumford defeated Oakfield-Alabama 9-1 for the Class C-2 softball title Wednesday, it was very much business as usual for the Red Raiders. Their girls program had already won Section 5 crowns in soccer, volleyball and basketball in the current school year.

   "We're really making a great name for ourselves and girls sports at Cal-Mum," pitcher Emily MacDonald told The Daily News.

  

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  •     • With a 7-6 win over Lyndonville in the Section 5 Class D-2 softball final, the Fighting Irish became Batavia Notre Dame's 80th girls team across all sports to win a sectional championship.

       AD appointed: Fairport announced it has hired Fritz Kilian to replace the retiring Jim Zumbo as athletic director. Kilian, currently the Section 5 president, has been the AD at Brighton the last decade. He begins at Fairport on July 1.

       A cool honor: Aquinas senior linebacker and receiver Jamir Jones received a very appropriate honor this week when he was named his school's recipient of the Black Lion Award, another feather in his cap as he heads off to join his brother Jarron at Notre Dame in the fall.

       The award was created at the U.S. Military Academy to honor Major Don Holleder, an Aquinas alum killed in combat during the Vietnam War. Holleder's family and the 28th Infantry Association endorse the award, and winners are selected by their youth, middle school or high school football coach for their leadership and willingness to place team above self.

       Holleder was an All-America end at West Point when he was asked by coach Red Blaik to move to quarterback. He guided the Cadets to a 6-3 record and an upset of Navy in his senior season.

       Jones made a very comparable sacrifice in his junior football season by shifting to QB after star Jake Zembiec suffered an injury that kept him out for most of the remainder of the season.

       "He never complained," coach Chris Battaglia told the Democrat and Chronicle. "The day (Zembiec was injured), he texted me before I even could call him, and said, 'Coach, I'll play any position you need. All I want to do is win.'

       "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, he doesn't even have a scholarship yet.' You can't beat a kid like that."


      
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