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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 1, 2006


Guilderland tennis

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Guilderland senior Kevin Gioia was in the midst of the final in Thursday’s Class A Section II championship contest against Bethlehem when he started breaking down.

He couldn’t control his emotions much like he couldn’t control the outcome of the match that took place on the court directly behind him.

When the number-three doubles match ended, so did the Gioia’s dream of a repeat of the sectional title.

Bethlehem won that doubles match and five others for a 6-3 win over the Dutchmen to win the sectional title.

"They came out fast and furious," said Guilderland Coach Curtis Snyder. "We got in a hole early and we couldn’t come back. They got the better of the play.

"Warming up, I thought the guys were ready," Snyder added. "But when the matches started we fell down in five or six of them. It takes a lot of energy to try and come back and, at the end, the guys didn’t have enough in the tank."

Gioia ended up losing his number-two singles match by a 6-4 decision in the third set. The Dutchmen got wins from top singles player Alex Kolomeits, number-four singles player Jon Ellenbogen, and the top doubles team of Joey Millstein and Dan Bakst.

"I knew the match would be tough," Snyder said on Thursday. "I was hoping we would win two out of three doubles. It didn’t work out that way. When you only win one doubles match, it puts a lot of pressure on the singles players. We struggled a bit today and we did not get in the groove."

Number-three singles player Joe Shawky lost his match as did Mike Griggs and Pat Ryan in the number-five and number-six slots. Chad Caplan and Joel Malerba lost their number-two doubles match and Ben Ellenbogen and Scott Purga lost in the number-three doubles.

Seniors move on

The loss marked the end of the careers of a talented group of seniors.

"I feel bad for the seniors," Snyder said. "It’s disappointing. There are seven seniors and a lot of them have been with me for four years. But getting to the finals is a nice way to end the year."

Guilderland beat Colonie, 9-0, in the quarterfinals and Shaker, 8-1, in the semifinals, but Snyder thinks his team was ready for a close match in the finals.

"We talked before and they had the confidence that they would win," Snyder said. "But I don’t think it was overconfidence. We had beaten them [Bethlehem], 8-1, so were going in with confidence."

The Eagles handed the Dutchmen their only other loss this year earlier in the season. Guilderland won the regular-season re-match.

The Dutchmen had a goal of winning its second consecutive sectional title.

"We won it last year and we wanted to get back to the finals and win it," Snyder said. "We certainly had an opportunity. It’s not that we played bad. I give the credit to Bethlehem, they upped their game when they had to."

Kolomeits, Gioia, and Shawky have put a lot into the Guilderland program. The seniors have helped the Dutchmen amass 50 wins and just four losses.

"Alex and Kevin have been on varsity for five years," Snyder said. "They have been my one and two so it’s going to be different next year. My first year coaching [varsity] was their first year.

"Joe has been on the team for four years," Snyder added. "Pat has been on the team for four years. When you talk about Guilderland tennis, you talk about those guys. I’m sure there were a lot of teams in the Suburban Council that are glad to see these guys go."

The future looks bright for the Dutchmen, though, as the junior varsity team lost just one match during the season.

"We have good young talent," Snyder said. "It’s just they have to gain varsity experience. We might struggle for one year."

Though his team lost, Snyder said his players should take pride in a lot of the things they accomplished.

"Of course it’s disappointing," the coach said. "But you are not going to be able to win every single match. For three years we were in the sectional final and we were able to win one. Some teams don’t win. This is a great group of guys. The Suburban Council is the best tennis in the area and to be the second-best team is quite an honor."


The Guilderland boys’ lacrosse

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — It was an almost perfect performance.

The Guilderland boys’ lacrosse team came firing on all cylinders and crushed Christian Brothers Academy, 12-2, in a Class A Section II semifinal match on Friday.

The Dutchmen used a dominating defense and got great offensive performances to ease to the win that put them in the finals and gave a rude homecoming for their old coach, Tom Schwan, who now coaches the academy team.

The Dutch were supposed to play in the championship game on Wednesday against Niskayuna at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute but the game was postponed due to lightning. It will be played today (Thursday) at 4 p.m.

"Guilderland outplayed us from the start," Schwan said on Friday. "They were mentally ahead of us. We were outplayed for the entire game. We needed to come out early."

The Dutchmen were led on offense by Bob McIver. McIver scored four goals and had an assist. Uriah Myrie added three goals for the Dutchmen.

Aaron Cahill, Sean Davis, Stephen Puvogel, Ron Buck, and Chris Conway each scored for Guilderland.

The Guilderland defense was the key, however. Senior goalie Judd Robinson made 18 saves and gave up just one goal. Robinson’s defensemen also showed up to play.

"My defense came out ready to go," he said after Friday’s game.

About one of the goals, Robinson said: "It wasn’t even a good goal. I was out of position. I was using my back-up stick. It might now become my regular stick. I was seeing the ball good today."

"We put Scott Raffensperger on Jordan Jacques and Matt Rimmer on Josh Sweeney," said Guilderland Coach Sean McConaghy after Friday’s game. "They played quite a role all year and defended well. And Judd was unbelievable."

The Guilderland defense held the Brothers top scorers to no points in the contest.

"We came out with so much emotion," McIver said. "The coaches did a good job of preparing us."

"We were ready to go right away," Robinson added.

The Dutch were playing for a lot on Friday. Not only was it for a spot in the Section II final, but also against a rival who is led by their old coach.

"There definitely was motivation," Robinson said. "We were motivated because it was Coach Schwan and CBA and the Big 10. They thought they were going to run over us so this is great."

"We wanted to do a good representation of the Suburban Council," McIver added.

It was the fast start that got the Dutchmen rolling.

"We scored two goals in the first couple of minutes," McConaghy said. "They got down and it was tough for them to come back," he said of the Brothers. "Our offense, defense, rides and clears were great. We played a great lacrosse game."

"Their confidence grew and we lost ours," Schwan said. "They had some offensive fire power. They were able to score a lot of goals and they had some great one-on-one defenders. The bottom line was we were in too much of a hole."

Last year, the Dutchmen got pounded by Niskayuna as the Silver Warriors rolled to the state title game. This year, the Dutch have more confidence going into the final.

"We’re better really," McIver said. "We will definitely do better, I can’t wait for it."

"The third time is a charm," Robinson said of having the chance to avenge two regular-season losses to Niskayuna.

"We’re looking for a different outcome this year," McConaghy said. "This is great for the guys."


Guilderland baseball

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Errors kept the Guilderland baseball team from posting a major upset in the Class AA Section II quarterfinals on Saturday.

The Dutchmen had one bad inning that gave Colonie the lead and provided an uphill battle for the rest of the game. To their credit, the Dutch did not go away despite losing, 9-5.

"We threw away the baseball in the second," said Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley. "You can’t make errors in a game like this."

Colonie scored four runs in the third inning after already leading, 2-1.

With one out, Joe Paleto singled and moved to second on a single by Brendan Rowland. Paleto and Rowland advanced to second and third on a ground ball by Nick Johnson that was misplayed by Guilderland third baseman Jake Colavito. Colavito’s throw to second was wide and Rowland was safe at second.

Brett Peplowski singled to drive in Paleto and Rowland. James Smith then singled to drive in Johnson. An error by Reid Moreland at shortstop allowed Andy Ramond to reach first base. Peplowski then tagged up and scored on a deep fly ball by Hunter Moffatt that was caught in right field by Kevin Doherty. The inning ended when Smith was tagged out at the plate by Guilderland catcher Mike Goldstein on a throw by Ben Henderson.

Guilderland chipped away at the lead with two runs in the top half of the third inning.

Henderson led off the inning with a walk and moved to third on Colavito’s double. Doherty grounded out but Henderson was able to score.

Andrew Simpson then hit a deep fly ball that Colavito tagged up from third and scored on and made the score 6-3.

Guilderland added two more runs in the next inning to cut the lead to one run.

Goldstein led off the fourth inning with a single and Nick Stark walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. Bill Rafferty grounded out to the pitcher, Moffatt, but the runners advanced a base. After a strike out, Henderson singled to drive in Goldstein and Stark and make the score, 6-5.

Superb pitching by Drew Zannotta kept the Dutch in the game through the middle innings but he tired in the sixth inning. C.J. Sohl came in to pitch with runners on first and third with one out.

Sohl threw a 2-0 pitch to Rowland who blasted the ball over the left-field fence and onto the roof of Colonie High School for a three-run home run that padded the Garnet Raiders’ lead.

"It came down to one pitch at the end," LaValley said.

Guilderland took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Rafferty hit the first pitch of the game off the fence in centerfield for a double. He scored on a single by Colavito.

Colonie, though, would score twice in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead.

Zanotta pitched well for Guilderland in his five-and-one-third innings. He gave up four runs and pitched three scoreless innings — third, fourth, and fifth, which kept the Dutchmen in the contest.

"He battled," LaValley said of the senior. "I’m proud about everything in this baseball program. I wouldn’t trade these players with anybody."

"We played as good as I’ve seen," Rafferty, a senior said. "One inning killed us. We fought. Everyone was in the game the whole time. There’s not one person on the team I don’t respect."

"The program is building"

Hitting has been the key to success for the Dutchmen this season. And they blasted nine hits off Moffatt, Colonie’s ace. The Dutch also scored 14 runs to beat Christian Brothers Academy — and their ace pitcher, Greg Holle — in a first-round playoff game last Thursday. Nick Polsinelli got the win with an impressive performance holding the Brothers to just one run.

"Hitting and pitching have been big for us," Rafferty said. "I’ve never been on a team that hit as well as this year’s."

Rafferty is just one of six players on the 16-player roster. Zanotta, Moreland, Doherty, Stark, and Steve Blaauboer are the others.

Rafferty will be playing at Division I Fairfield University next spring. Moreland will play at Methodist College in Fayettville, N.C. Doherty will play at Hudson Valley Community College next spring.

Stark will be going to The College of Saint Rose and will probably play soccer. Zanotta will go to the Univeristy at Albany and will probably not play baseball, LaValley said of each player.

There will be 10 players returning who played some innings and some who will leave their mark on the program before they leave.

"We have a lot of young guys that are really good," Rafferty said. "They did their part on the team. The guys listen to Coach and that hasn’t happened in many years.

"The program is building," Rafferty added. "I’ll come back and watch them play next year. They’ll be such a good team. It can be fun."

Though the Dutch had one of their best seasons in recent memory — they finished the regular season with a 15-5 overall record — they were not pleased with the season.

"We were not satisfied," LaValley said after Saturday’s game. "We wanted to go to the next step. You just have to play defense in games like this."


Voorheesville baseball

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville baseball team ran into some bad luck as its season came to an end in Saturday’s quarterfinal loss to Johnstown.

Johnstown, which came into the game with an overall record below .500, scored four runs in the seventh inning to pull out a 5-3 win.

The Blackbirds led, 2-1, going into the seventh inning but the Sir Bills rallied.

With one out, Garrett DeRoss blasted a triple to left-center field. But, after another strikeout by relief pitcher Pete Lindner, Ryan Brown hit a ground ball to Voorheesville first baseman Nick Duncan who threw the ball to Lindner, covering first base. The umpire called Brown safe at first.

"The umpire said the throw pulled Pete off the bag," said Voorheesville Coach Hank Czerwinski. "The tying run scored. It would’ve ended the game."

Johnstown then hit several singles and was able to add three more runs to take a 5-2 lead going into the bottom half of the last inning.

"Pete self-destructed," Czerwinski said. "We scored one run in the seventh but we got nothing more. We came in with our best pitcher and they hit him. They got to him."

Jay Conde started the game for Voorheesville but injured himself running to first base on a drag bunt. He came out after the third inning.

Andy Catellier pitched the next three innings before Lindner came into the game for the seventh.

Johnstown took the lead in the fourth inning after an error by Lindner at shortstop and a walk put runners on first and second.

R.J. Curreri then committed an error at third base on a throw to force out a runner at second base.

Voorheesville came back to tie the game in the fourth inning.

Nick Duncan hit a triple and scored on a fielder’s choice by Curreri.

Voorheesville took the lead in the fifth.

Freshman Nick Blow worked a one-out walk and moved to second on a sacrifice by sophomore Tom Pasqualli, who came in for Conde. Catellier then singled to drive in Blow and give the Birds a 2-1 lead.

Canning Cairo

The Blackbirds beat Cairo-Durham, 10-3, in the first round of the Class B playoffs. Curreri got the win on the mound pitching six innings, before Lindner pitched the seventh.

Voorheesville scored one run in the second and one in the third to take the lead. The Birds scored two in the fourth inning on a two-run home run by Catellier and then exploded for six runs in the sixth inning.

Justin Arico hit a two-run home run in the frame to pace the Blackbirds.

Voorheesville had just five hits in the contest, but took advantage of a number of walks and hit batsmen.

"Excellent season"

"Overall it was an excellent season," Czerwinski said. "I didn’t care for the outcome. It shows that even a team with a sub .500 record can win. It’s whoever is hot or lucky.

"In sectionals, you can’t commit errors," the coach added. "We committed errors and didn’t hit the ball. We had three hits."

The Birds will lose a small but talented senior class. Jake Norris, Catellier, Duncan, and Lindner will all move on.

Lindner will play baseball at Division I Stony Brook University next spring while Catellier will play football at Union College and Duncan at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute.

"Overall, it was a phenomenal year," Czerwinski said. "We started 0-3 and the kids did a great job coming back. Everyone contributed. We had no one as a first-team Colonial Council all-star. It was a complete baseball team effort. We had junior-varsity kids that came up and helped tremendously."

Czerwinski said that the team has a lot to look forward to next season with just one question mark.

"Defensively and offensively, we should be fine," the coach said. "Pitching could be a problem. We don’t have a lot of guys with varsity experience. Conde and Curreri and that will be it."

But this season will have a special meaning for the Voorheesville baseball program.

"It was a very good year," Czerwinski said. "We won back-to-back Colonial Council championships. I don’t know the last time that was done. But I’ve only been coaching for three years. That’s not bad, two championships in three years."


BKW baseball

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The Berne-Knox-Westerlo baseball team wrapped up its season with two wins.

"It was different than in previous years," BKW Coach Jeff Teats said. "We didn’t have a .500 record so we didn’t go to sectionals. Then you typically end the season with a loss. But we ended this season with two wins."

The Bulldogs beat Northville, 13-1 and then Margaretville of Section IV, 8-0.

Junior Bobby Patrick and sophomores Greg Mulson and Ben Burton combined to pitch a one-hitter against Northville. The Bulldogs committed an error and walked a couple of batters that led to the Northville run.

Josh Skinner led the Bulldogs at the plate with a double and two singles.

BKW then finished up the season with a trip to Cooperstown to take on Margaretville of Delaware County.

BKW had two players named to the Western Athletic Confernece South Division all-star team.

Senior Jeremy Mann was named as an outfielder. He finished the season with a .317 batting average and had 17 runs batted in. He also led the team in extra-base hits.

Patrick also made the team as an outfielder. He finished the season with a .316 batting average in the lead-off spot for the Bulldogs. He scored 19 runs and had 18 hits and 18 walks on the season.

"He did a good job in the lead-off spot," Teats said.

Mann is one of three seniors who will graduate next month. Rick Ragone and Ben Hallenback are the others. Nine players will return for the Bulldogs next season.

The returners gained a lot of experience this season despite the outcome of most of the games.

"We really struggled this year to finish games," Teats said. "We talked about playing seven innings and in games like Fonda we lost the game in the late innings. I give the kids credit: They hung tough, stayed together, and stayed focused and, even though they were losing, they didn’t quit on me or themselves."

Teats said that the team should show some improvement next season.

"We have a strong junior-varsity team," the coach said. "The expectations are that we’ll be better and stronger next year."

Teats hopes that a lot of his players will play in a fall league next year.

The Bulldogs are also planning on a trip to Florida during spring break in 2008.

"We’re still doing different fund-raising," Teats said. "We still have a good shot at raising money. We have another school year. It’s too far away, so the kids haven’t gotten too excited about it. It’s something they can achieve and in the next year they will be really into it."


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