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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 8, 2008

Dutch get defensive, hold off rival Shen

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland boys’ lacrosse team is still looking for that perfect game.

Despite not playing its best lacrosse for an entire game, the Dutchmen picked up another win, beating Shenendehowa on Thursday, 7-5.

Guilderland improved its record to 9-1 this season.

“Maybe we’ve put together a good 24 minutes in a game so far,” said Guilderland Coach Sean McConaghy. “We’ve won three in a row since Niskayuna. It’s nice to get a win over Shen any time.”

“We were up by four goals and coach told us to slow down,” said senior attack Quinn Connell. “Shen had the ball a lot in the fourth quarter. We let down a bit. But at the end, we stopped them.”

The Dutchmen led, 6-2, at the end of the third quarter.

Aaron Cahill received a pass from Connell up top and fired a shot into the net to give Guilderland the four-goal lead with 1:04 left in the third frame.

Shen came back in the fourth stanza getting a goal from Jon Olsen with 9:52 left in the contest. Jesse Elliot assisted on the tally.

Elliot scored a goal of his own with 5:14 left in the contest and added another one with 4:36 left in the game.

Guilderland got some breathing room about 30 seconds later.

Rory Nunamacher’s unassisted goal put the Dutch up by two goals, 7-5. The Dutch were then able to run out the clock to preserve the win.

A winning defense

Guilderland led, 1-0, at the end of the first quarter on a goal by Nunamacher.

Connell sent a pass to Nunamacher who was cutting towards the goal. Nunamacher caught the ball and fired a shot behind his back and into the goal.

Shen tied the game with 5:15 left in the second quarter.

Olsen scored with an assist from Kevin Bloss.

Connell scored to put the Dutchmen up, 2-1, late in the second quarter. Connell came from behind the goal and fired a shot on net with 3:17 left until halftime.

Travis Moore gave the Dutchmen a 3-1 lead with 1:38 left until halftime.  Connell assisted on the goal.

Shen cut the Guilderland lead back down to one as Olsen tallied with an assist from Elliot. The goal came with 43 seconds left in the first half.

Nunamacher took advantage of an unsettled situation to score the fourth goal of the game for the Dutch.

After a missed shot by a teammate, Nunamacher scooped up a loose ball in front of the goal and put a shot in the cage.

Paul Jones made the score 5-2 with 5:59 left in the third frame. Jones’s tally was assisted by Connell.

Nick Koss was solid in goal for the Dutchmen. He made eight saves, including one when he was caught out of position but reached back and was able to get his stick on the ball.

Koss anchored a defense that was solid for most of the game.

“Defense is winning us games,” Connell said. “We’re not scoring a lot. When they hold teams to four or five goals, that helps us. A lot of times we just need to score six goals. Defense is a big help.”

“They had three meltdowns that led to three goals,” McConaghy said of his defense. “Two of the goals scored against us were good offensive plays. A couple of times, they had mental breakdowns. But they’re high school kids. It happens.”

McConaghy felt that his players didn’t hustle enough and did not make good decisions on offense.

“They beat on us on ground balls,” McConaghy said. “We have to do a better job of moving the ball around. We’d throw two passes, then take a shot that hits the goalie in the chest, or throw on pass and then hit the goalie in the stick. Our offense didn’t help our defense in the fourth quarter.”

Connell feels that, being the lone senior attackmen, he needs to take on more of a leadership role.

“I tried to be a leader in the timeouts,” he said. “I tried to get the team as fired up as possible. I also try to lead by example and stay cool and calm on the field. If I act crazy, it can reflect on the guys.”

“We have to play a team game”

The win was the third in a row for the Dutchmen since a one-goal loss to Niskayuna on April 22. Guilderland beat Columbia, Bethlehem, and Shen heading into a game against Burnt Hills that was played on Tuesday.

Guilderland then plays Bethlehem on Thurdsay, Albany Academy on Saturday, and at Saratoga on Tuesday.

McConaghy and Connell are expecting to see some changes for the better, expecially on offense.

“We have to move the ball around,” Connell said. “We have to find the best scoring option. It’s all one-on-one. We have to play a team game and that will help us.”

“When we play team offense, we do a good job,” McConaghy said. “When we play individual offense, we don’t.”

Connell still expects to help lead this team to its intended goal.

“It’s all about winning a sectional championship,” Connell said. “The whole team wants that. We’re coming together, but we can still get better. This was a great game to win.”

Westervelt helps Dutchmen overtake George Washington

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland baseball team just might be back to playing at the championship level as last year.

On the way to reaching that high level, the Dutchmen beat some very good teams.

After losing four games in a row — three of them non-league — the Dutchmen have won five of their last six games.

Guilderland started the week with two big Suburban Council wins over Saratoga, 3-2, and Niskayuna, 7-5. The Dutchmen wrapped up the week with another league win, 13-9, over Averill Park on Monday.

In between was the Clarkstown South Tournament where the Dutchmen faced the best teams they’ll play this year.

“It was a good weekend; the kids played well,” said Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley. “We actually could have won the whole thing. But I am happy with the way we played.”

Guilderland traveled on Friday and then played Tottenville of Staten Island in the first round of the tournament. Tottenville had a 52-9 record last season and was ranked 25th in the nation in 2007. This year, the Pirates had a 10-1 record in the Public School Athletic League in New York City.

The Dutch followed up the 10-7 win over Tottenville with an even bigger win over George Washington High School of Manhattan.

The Trojans had a 33-0 record heading into the contest with Guilderland and were ranked 11th in the country by USA Today.

The Dutchmen lost the championship game of the tournament to the host team, 5-4.

Guilderland led Clarkstown South, 3-0, and had the bases loaded in the fourth inning. A double play with one out ended the inning and Clarkstown South came back for the win.

“Big-time win”

“It was a heck of a ball game,” LaValley said. “It felt like sectionals. The last two games were pretty good as well.”

Against George Washington, senior lefthander Jason Westervelt was the star.

Westervelt pitched a complete game, allowing just two runs and three hits as the Dutchmen won, 6-2.

“He threw the ball well,” LaValley said. “He had six walks…But he had two walks in the same inning. He was in the zone a lot more than against Massapequa.

“It was a big-time win,” LaValley added. “I’m proud of the way the kids played.”

Pat Quinn had two doubles to back Westervelt.

Against Tottenville, the game was tied, 3-3, when the Pirates scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning. Guilderland came back with six runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 9-7 lead. The Dutch added one more run and held on for the win.

“We had an error in the fourth inning that led to all their runs,” LaValley said. “They only had three earned runs off of us and we had 12 hits.”

Kyle LaValley started and got the win on the mound. He pitched five innings before Ethan Slupski started the sixth inning.

Slupski got two outs then C.J. Sohl came in and got the last four outs of the game to earn the save.

Steve Anderson hit a triple and a single to knock in four runs. Jimmy Quinn had a double and a single and three runs batted in. Ivan Plata added two singles and scored three runs for the Dutchmen.

LaValley thinks that playing well in a tournament with very good teams will help his ball club in the long run. But he is also focused on getting his team into the sectional tournament.

“We need one more win to qualify for the sectionals,” LaValley said.

The Dutchmen have a 10-6 overall record and a 6-2 league mark.

“We’re just playing,” LaValley said. “We’re not practicing. I’d rather play. It’s keeping us sharp.”

The Dutch players have learned from the slump they suffered at the mid-season point.

“They know what they can do,” LaValley said. “They have to go out and play. There’s not much you can teach them now. Players win games and they just have to go out and play.”

Lady Dutch making strides, playoff win goal

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland softball team is still working towards its goal, despite a setback on Friday.

The Lady Dutch dropped a 6-5 decision to Bethlehem at a Friday afternoon game played under gray skies and some rain. The game was part of the Pine Bush Girls Softball League opening ceremonies held on Friday at Keenholts Park in Guilderland Center.

“It was a tough loss,” said Guilderland Coach Jen Ficarra. “The bats woke up a little late. I expected to do a little better.”

The Lady Dutch did beat Saratoga, 5-4, last Wednesday and then beat Averill Park, 8-0, on Monday.

Guilderland has a 10-5 overall record and is 4-4 in the Suburban Council. Teams have to finish .500 in the league to qualify for the sectional playoffs.

“What makes it tough in the league this year is that everybody is equal,” Ficarra said. “Whoever shows up to play is going to win.”

Eagles landed a victory

Against Bethlehem on Friday, the Lady Dutch trailed 2-1 before the Eagles scored four runs in the top half of the sixth inning to take a 6-1 lead.

Guilderland answered with four runs of its own in the bottom half of the sixth inning.

After the first two batters of the inning got outs, Lauren Napoli singled and scored when Morgan Ten Eyck doubled to left field.

Taylor Ten Eyck then singled to drive in her twin sister, Morgan, and to make the score 6-3.

Sara Heller and Jen McCutcheon drew walks to load the bases. Nicky Marcucci then singled to drive in both Taylor Ten Eyck and Heller to cut the lead to one, 6-5.

But the Dutch would not get any closer and Bethlehem prevailed for the win.

“We’d been hitting and scoring runs,” Ficarra said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t get enough key hits. They got good hits off of us in the right spots. We’ve played real well on offense and defense. We’re doing well in the field.”

Deb Schildt started the game and pitched two shutout innings. McCutcheon came in the third inning and pitched well though she got the loss.

“The pitching is great,” Ficarra said. “Jen and Deb are splitting up the time and they are pitching great for us.”

McCutcheon scored the first run of the game for the Lady Dutch. In the second inning, she hit a triple and then scored from third base on a wild pitch.

Acing Averill Park

McCutcheon — who pitched the first three innings — and Schildt combined to shut out Averill Park on Monday.

Napoli had three hits in the game, stole a base and scored two runs. Schildt also scored two runs and knocked in another.

“That is a game that we need to win to be at .500 at the end of the season,” Ficarra said.

Against Saratoga last Wednesday, Michelle Giwerc had three hits including the game-winning RBI. She also scored one run.

Napoli had two hits including a double, two RBIs and a run scored.

The Dutch dropped a contest to Niskayuna, 5-2.

“Working very hard together”

Guilderland opened the season with wins in their first six games. Only two of them were league contests. The Dutch also own league wins over Ballston Spa and Mohonasen this spring.

“Early on, the games we played built up the girls’ confidence,” Ficarra said. “We got off to a good start. We are 4-4 in the league and we are playing good games. Two of our wins have come in the seventh inning and two of our losses have been in the seventh inning.

“We are playing close games with our competitors,” Ficarra added. “We’re finding out what’s going to get us to be on top. We’re playing in one or two runs every game.”

Guilderland played Shaker High School on Wednesday. The Lady Dutch then play at Ballston Spa on Friday, at Burnt Hills on Monday, and at Schenectady on Tuesday.

“We have 15 games down and nine games left,” Ficarra said on Tuesday. “We have Shaker on Wednesday and then Shen [May 14]. I’m expecting good games with them.”

Ficarra thinks her team can play well against those two traditional Suburban Council powers.

“We have to push through at the end of games,” Ficarra said. “This definitely a very talented team. We are working very hard together.”

The Lady Dutch are working hard to accomplish their goals.

“Obviously we want to finish above .500,” Ficarra said. “With the way the team is looking now, I’m confident that we’ll be there. We’ll definitely reach the sectionals. Our goal is to get past the first round of the sectionals.

And that is something Ficarra believes will happen.

“I’m not accepting anything less.”

Blackbirds competing for .500 mark

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — It has been a season of learning for the Voorheesville softball team.

The young players on the Blackbird squad have been competitive in most of their games this season, but they are still learning what it takes to win those close contests.

“We are not winning the close games,” said Voorheesville Coach Matt Fiato. “We had chance to beat the first-place team. We can’t give away games. We’ve got to be .500 in the league to get to sectionals. We were right there with the first-place team but then we lost to the second-to-last place team. Not taking anything away from Schalmont, but it is the kind of game that we have to win.”

The Lady Blackbirds lost to Schalmont, 5-4, on Wednesday but did beat Watervliet, 15-2, to earn their third win of the season.

“We made mistakes”

Last Wednesday, against Schalmont, Voorheesville gave up one run in the sixth inning and one in the seventh to lose the lead. The Lady Blackbirds attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Alexa Dillenbeck led off the inning with a walk and Morgan Vandervort came in to pinch run for Dillenbeck.

Vandervort moved to second base on a wild pitch and then advanced to third on a single by Britney Creed. Vandervort scored on a ground ball hit by Kelsey DeZalia that forced Creed out at second.

Katie Chiseri walked to put runners on first and second with two outs, but a strikeout by Schalmont pitcher Bianca Bejacezuk ended the game and gave the Sabers the win.

Voorheesville had a runner on third base with one out in the sixth inning. Caitlin Abelseth tripled but the next two hitters struck out and the Blackbirds missed an opportunity to tie the game.

“I probably should have bunted there,” Fiato said. “But I thought we would be able to put the ball in play. Thinking back, I should have probably done a squeeze play.

“But we took some bad strikeouts today,” Fiato said last Wednesday. “We struck out on a lot of ball fours. We didn’t get a lot of productive outs. We didn’t have a good overall performance. We made mistakes base running. We missed signs. We were not mentally focused running the bases today.”

Creed scored a run in the first inning to tie the game, 1-1.

Schalmont scored two runs in the top of the third to regain the lead but Voorheesville tied it back up in the bottom half of the fourth inning.

Alissa Hatch doubled to drive in Elizabeth Madden, who walked, and beat a throw home on a ball hit back to the pitcher by Christine Abelseth.

The Lady Blackbirds finished the contest with seven hits, but Fiato has seen them hit better against good teams.

“We’ve struggled at the plate,” the coach said. “Against Guilderland and Lansingburgh, we hit really well. Then against Holy Names we get just one hit and leave runners on base. We lose that game, 1-0.”

“We can get this turned around”

The Blackbirds did bang out nine hits and scored 10 runs in a 10-0 win over Albany High School at the Albany Invitational tournament.

DeZalia led the Birds with three hits in four at bats. She hit two doubles and a single and had three RBIs.

Campana hit a bases-loaded triple and also had a single. Katie Chiseri and Creed each hit two singles and had an RBI.

Hatch and Vandervort combined on the shutout. Hatch pitched five innings and Vandervort pitched two. They were backed by a defense that turned three double plays in the contest.

The Blackbirds lost in the championship game to Burnt Hills.

Voorheesville is getting good defense and solid pitching from Hatch, among others.

“On defense, we’re playing well,” Fiato said. “We don’t have a dominant pitcher, but we are getting good defense behind them. The defense is keeping us in games. When our batting gets better, we’ll win the close games.”

The Blackbirds played at Mechanicville on Monday — and lost, 12-4 — and at Ravena on Wednesday.

Voorheesville hosts Cobleskill on Friday and Holy Names on Monday. The Lady Blackbirds have make-up games left with Mechanicville, Ravena, and Cohoes and have games scheduled against Amsterdam on May 13 and Lansingburgh on May 16 to wrap up the regular season.

“The league is so tough,” Fiato said of the Colonial Council. “Right now we’re third to last and we almost beat the first-place team.”

Fiato is confident in his team’s ability to keep getting better and making a run to earn a playoff bid.

“I think that we can get this turned around and get closer to .500,” Fiato said. “We can get to the CC sectionals and we can win a game or two. But, if we can’t go .500 in the league, we won’t have a chance to do that.”

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