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SOMERS, N.Y. — With the threat of thunderstorms in the forecast, Saturday's Niskayuna vs. Somers boys lacrosse game was moved up from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m.
While Mother Nature ended up relenting, the Silver Warriors did not. The Section 2 powerhouse brought plenty of thunder and lightning in an impressive 14-8 win over the Tuskers (6-3) at Somers High School.
The Silver Warriors (8-0) broke the game open inside the final four minutes of the second quarter, going on a 5-1 run to grab a commanding 8-4 lead at the half.
“When you play a team like this and you let your guard down or make a mistake, they make you pay for it,” Tuskers coach Lew Janavey said. “And that's what happened. For about four or five minutes, we had some bad mistakes, threw some bad passes and they hurt us — especially in transition.”
Holy Cross-bound middie Justin Picardi scored two of his four goals during the decisive second-quarter surge, using a combo of speed, size and deadly shooting to overwhelm Somers' defense.
“(Niskayuna) attacked from all over,” Janavey said. “They are big and fast in the midfield and they all shoot well. They also got great play from the attack.”
According to Niskayuna junior attackman Lucas Maloney, the Silver Warriors were able to exploit Somers' zone defense.
“That opened opportunities for our midfielders to get the ball a little bit more,” said Maloney, who buried a game-high five goals. “We were winning face-offs, which was also a huge help.”
Somers was able to neutralize Niskayuna's potent offense early due to the strong play of goalie Chris Cousin (17 saves). The Holy Cross-bound senior stood on his head in the opening quarter, making seven huge saves to help keep the game even at 2-2 after one.
While valiant and praise-worthy, Cousin's strong first-quarter performance was like plugging a hole in the Hoover Dam with chewing gum. Eventually, the Silver Warriors were going to breakthrough.
Maloney said the shots started to fall after the coaches reinforced the scouting report on Cousin.
“When we were shooting the ball, (Cousin) was stepping out real far,” said Maloney, who has already verbally committed to Penn State. “We knew we had to reach around him a little bit more. Our coach talked about that during practice all week. That's what we worked on all week and during warmups. We played against him last year and we were ready for it.”
Niskayuna kept on rolling after the break, outscoring the Tuskers 4-1 in the third quarter to boost its lead to 12-6 heading into the fourth. Somers showed some fight down the stretch, opening the fourth quarter on a 3-0 run to trim Niskayuna's lead to 12-8 with 4:27 left in regulation. Junior middie Mike Ashikari (2A) notched both his goals during the surge. But the Tuskers were then whistled for an unnecessary roughness penalty at the 2:45 mark, effectively putting an end to their comeback hopes.
“We had a couple of brain freezes in the second and third quarters and it came back to haunt us,” Janavey said. “We played good in the first and settled down and did some things in the fourth, but you have to play a whole game against teams like this.”
If all goes according plan, Somers will learn from the loss and emerge as a better team when it counts most.
“This is why we schedules teams like this,” Janavey said. “They push you and make you play for 48 minutes. We will come out better because of this.”
Niskayuna 2 6 4 2 14
Somers 2 2 1 3 8
Niskayuna: Luke Goldstock (2G, 4A); Lucas Maloney (5G); Justin Picardi (4G); Tanner MacIvor (1G, 1A); Blake Pfohl (2G); Matt Sexton (1A); Evan Quinn (10SV)
Somers: Mike Ashikari (2G, 2A); Alex Corpolongo (2G); Anthony Carpenter (2G); Kevin Cousin (1G, 1A); Johnny Cegielski (1G); Marc Fiocco (2A); Chris Cousin (17SV)
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass