Sometimes you have to take a step or two back before you take a big leap forward.
The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake women’s lacrosse team is determined to see that come to fruition this spring as they build on suburban council success and – high on their wish list – another Division II championship. .
“We’re not the best team we can be yet,” Burnt Hills third-year coach Katie Kerner said. “I see the pieces of our game coming together like a puzzle that hasn’t been put together. It doesn’t happen overnight. »
The Spartans are looking for what would be a fourth Division II title in five seasons. They won Class C zone titles in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and – after the 2020 season which never happened due to COVID restrictions – the Spartans reached the Class B final of the 2021 zone before a loss to Queesbury ended what had been a superb campaign.
“The Burnt Hills kids are going to work hard,” Spartans junior Ella Blesi said. “We all want the same thing, and that’s to get back to the league game. The goal is always to win a title.
The Spartans are back in Section II Class C this season with the likes of Scotia-Glenville, Albany Academy and 2021 Section II champion Averill Park. Different for the Spartans, too, is their roster that lost Allie Connally, Erin McClernan, Sydney Fitzgerald, Paige Thowe, Allie Pohl, Isabel Adams and Carly Szczepaniak at graduation.
“Our team dynamic has changed,” Blesi said. “We have a lot of new girls.”
Burnt Hills went 11-0 at Suburban Council and 13-2 on aggregate last spring, with both setbacks coming against Queensbury. Burnt Hills had lost to Queensbury 13-11 at the start of the season, then put together a 10-game winning streak, then lost again to Queensbury in the Class B final 17-11.
“It was a question of grain. They wanted it so much more,” Burnt Hills junior MP Lescault said. “We were confident and they came out super strong.”
The loss provided Burnt Hills with plenty of off-season motivation, as did Tuesday’s 11-6 loss to Bethlehem. In this contest, Burnt Hills did some good things, but Bethlehem topped that effort, with the defending Class A Division II champions Eagles taking advantage of turnovers and slowing the Spartans’ offense for significant periods.
“It’s going to drive us,” Blesi said. “We did not expect this. We have to prepare better. »
Despite missing two key players in senior defenseman Ally Frame (swimming commitment) and sophomore forward Grace Tullock (ice hockey commitment), Burnt Hills offered no apologies after losing to a team of Bethlehem which he beat in extra time last year for one of his emblematic victories.
“It was a wake-up call,” Kerner said after Tuesday’s loss at Centennial Field. “In training we didn’t play our best. Now we know that if we don’t train at 100%, we won’t play at 100%.
Burnt Hills got all of their goals from midfield in the Bethlehem game, with Blesi and Lescault scoring three each. Lescault, a United States lacrosse All-American and committed to Johns Hopkins, often struggled to find a free teammate when Bethlehem threw two defenders at her.
“I think personally we haven’t worked together,” said Lescault, who led Burnt Hills in goals (62) and assists (22) last season. “There wasn’t enough trust in each other like last year.”
That, Lescault insisted, will change as this season progresses – and Burnt Hills bounced back from their season-opening loss with league wins over Albany and Guilderland.
“I think we’re going to get closer as a team,” said the junior star, who along with Blesi, Frame and senior goaltender Maddie Morrison are this year’s captains. “We will gel and click. We’re going to catch and pass and run our plays. We will better understand the whole game of lacrosse.
A memorial meeting for longtime Guilderland lacrosse and football coach Arty Waugh will be held June 12 (3-6 p.m.) at Orchard Creek Golf Club in Altamont.
Waugh, who was inducted into the Adirondack chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Capital Region Football Hall of Fame in 2021, died March 7 at the age of 79.
Waugh is a graduate of Colonie High School and Syracuse University, and taught art at Guilderland and coached there during a career that spanned 34 years. He introduced lacrosse to Guilderland and led that program from 1976 to 2000. He was also an outstanding goaltender and played in the Mohawk Lacrosse League, Lake Placid Summer Lacrosse Tournament and Native American Festival. In 2014, he was named Lake Placid Lacrosse Legend.
A popular coach with a quick wit and an innate ability to motivate his players, Waugh was a football assistant under Capital Region Football Hall of Fame inductee Bud Kenyon for 14 years. , then led the Dutch for six years. down in 1986.
The Niskayuna varsity baseball team will play its home games this spring at Central Park in Schenectady due to planned construction around the high school field.
“We will practice on our field, but we will not play there,” Niskayuna varsity baseball coach Chris Bianchi said. ” It’s a security measure. We don’t want to see kids or the elderly getting hurt trying to get to the field.
The work at the high school is part of a capital project that Niskayuna residents approved in February 2021 and will eventually include the renovation of a baseball field as well as other sports facility upgrades.
“We won’t have all of our equipment or the convenience of playing just outside of school, and there’s travel, but it’s a small price to pay to get a new baseball complex,” he said. said Bianchi.
Niskayuna has scheduled 10 college home games and will play at all three Central Park courts starting Monday with a 4:15 p.m. game against Shenendehowa at Buck Ewing Field (field A). The Silver Warriors will host Albany Wednesday on Court C at 4:15 p.m.
“We have a small core of veteran players who are very hungry,” Bianchi said. “And we have a group of young players who want to prove they belong in this league. [Suburban Council]. They are hungry too. I think we will have an exciting team that will surprise some people.
Niskayuna’s junior varsity baseball team will use Craig Elementary School as their home ground, and Niskauyuna’s modified team will use Blatnick Park for most of their home games.
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Categories: High school sports, Sports