ROTTERDAM — It could have been any number of things that gave Niskayuna a one-goal win over Queensbury on Thursday at Mohonasen — an opportunistic ground ball leading to a goal, a great save, possession of the ball during a crucial moment.
One thing it surely wasn’t was lack of effort on the Spartans’ part.
Queensbury (15-2) twice cut Niskayuna’s lead to one goal in the second half, but could never get the equalizer, as the Silver Warriors beat the Spartans 8-7 in the Class B final of the Section II Girls Lacrosse Tournament.
It was the third consecutive year Niskayuna defeated Queensbury in the final.
Second-seeded Queensbury scored 43 seconds into the game when Rachel Spaulding found Devon Bolen for a tally. From then on, however, defenses ruled the first half. Top-seeded Niskayuna (12-6) closed the first half with two goals 30 seconds apart in the final minute for a 3-1 lead at the break.
The Silver Warriors opened the second half strongly, increasing their lead to 6-2 with 18:36 left. And things didn’t look too promising, as senior Natasha Rahal limped off the field with what appeared to be a foot injury.
Freshman Meghan O’Connor, Rahal’s replacement, however, gave the Spartans a burst of energy. She scored Queensbury’s next two goals, a mere 14 seconds apart, to cut Niskayuna’s lead to 6-4.
“Meghan played her heart out,” Queensbury coach Dave Huth said. “She stepped up unbelievably for an underclassman.”
Maddie Montgomery’s goal on a free position shot with 11:01 left made it 6-5.
Niskayuna goals from Erin Doyle and Sydney McPartlon — who led the Silver Warriors with four goals — got the lead back to 8-5 with 7:20 left.
Queensbury wasn’t done. Bolen and Spaulding each scored to again make it a one-goal game with 5:03 left.
“Any time we got within one, we thought we were going to pull ahead, and we had our opportunities. Unfortunately, we missed on a couple. We couldn’t double the ball quickly enough to get it again,” Huth said.
Queensbury did have a chance to tie the game in the final 20 seconds, but Niskayuna’s Mary Tiscione saved a low-angle shot and the Silver Warriors controlled the ball from then on.
“I thought we were in it the whole game,” said Queensbury’s Caitlin Bolen, who finished with two assists. “We gave it our all. Nisky’s a great team. ... Unfortunately it didn’t work out in the end. We had a really good season, it’s just too bad we lost.”
Both goalies played well, with Tiscione making nine saves and Queensbury’s Jen Paszko making eight.
“She came up huge,” Huth said of Paszko. “We gave her the most improved. She is night and day from where she began this year to where she is now. She has grown as a goalie, and I look forward to seeing her play in college.”
Both teams are accustomed to scoring more, especially Queensbury. Niskayuna coach Jason Bach said he wasn’t that surprised it was a defensive, one-goal game, and his team did its part to make sure it kept the Spartans’ high-octane offense off the scoreboard.
“We practiced the last couple of days on that, trying to break their fast break, making sure you’re sliding,” Bach said. “We knew they would be aggressive and continue to drive the goal. Be patient: stay with your mark and help. It’s all about communicating and we did very well here.”
Class B Championship
Queensbury (15-2) 1 6 — 7
Niskayuna (12-6) 3 5 — 8
Queensbury: Devon Bolen 2-0, Meghan O’Connor 2-0, Rachel Spaulding 1-1, Jordan Bentley 1-0, Maddie Montgomery 1-0, Caitlin Bolen 0-2.
Niskayuna: Sydney McPartlon 4-0, Erin Doyle 1-1, Annabelle Conover 1-1, Hannah Aronowitz 1-0, Tori Pantalone 1-0, Katherine Christian 0-1.
Goalies-saves: Jen Paszko (Qby) 8; Mary Tiscione (Nisk) 9.