All three matchups will be 1 vs. 2.
No, we’re not talking about seeds. We’re talking about sections.
Three teams from Section 1 (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties) will square off against their counterparts from Section 2 (Albany area) tomorrow starting at 3:30 p.m. at the University at Albany in the state quarterfinals.
We’ve previewed tomorrow’s Long Island championships as well as the CIAC quarterfinals, now let’s take a look at what to expect up along I-87.
At stake is a trip to Thursday’s semifinals at Middletown High School.
Before we tell you what to watch for and preview the games, let’s take a look at the schedule.
New York downstate quarterfinals
Section 2 vs. Section 1 at the University at Albany
Class C, 3:30 p.m.
Schuylerville (Section 2) vs. Putnam Valley (Section 1)
Class A, 5:30 p.m.
Guilderland (Section 2) vs. Yorktown (Section 1)
Class B, 8 p.m.
Niskayuna (Section 2) vs. Somers (Section 1)
Three things to watch
Nisky’s nasty D: Niskayuna is regarded as one of the premier defensive teams in the nation and has allowed just two opponents to score more than three goals and in both games, those teams had a grand total of four goals each.
Guilderland connection: Guilderland coach Sean McConaghy and Lakeland/Panas coach Jim Lindsay were former teammates at the University at Albany. Might McConaghy employ the same defensive game plan Lakeland/Panas did in building a 9-4 lead in its near upset of Yorktown in last Thursday’s Section 1 Class A final? It would be very surprising if he didn’t.
Senior sendoff: This year’s Putnam Valley team has a large group of contributing seniors, including all-American midfielder Jimmy van de Veeerdonk, Dillon Chesnut (who scored his 100th career goal against Rye in the sectional final) and attackman Kyle Calabro. Tomorrow, they know their game vs. Schuylerville could be their final varsity contest. Expect them to come out even more motivated as a result.
Class A Guilderland (18-2) vs. Yorktown (17-2): Guilderland’s offense revolves around senior midfielder Rory Nunamacher (No. 3), who leads the team in goals (43) and points (74). Goal-scoring threat Travis Moore (No. 4), also a midfielder, and feeder Paul Jones (No. 19), are effective complements.
Much has been made about Guilderland’s 15-10 regular-season win over Lakeland/Panas, a team Yorktown had to rally to beat in overtime last Thursday.
But the Dutchmen also lost to Niskayuna 15-2 before narrowing the margin to 6-2 in the teams’ second meeting. The point? You can’t rely on comparative scores too much.
One thing is certain: Yorktown, playing its first state tournament game since its agonizing semifinal loss to Syosset last year, has to be considered a solid favorite.
Prediction: Yorktown 10, Guilderland 7
Class B Niskayuna (21-0) vs. Somers (15-4): Though it’s difficult to assess Niskayuna’s overall strength because of its less than stellar schedule, there’s no doubt the Silver Warriors have to be regarded as one of the state’s premier programs.
Coach Mike Vorgang is a defensive guru who runs suffocating schemes that shut down high-powered offenses. Nisky also runs a patient offense led by senior midfielders Dan McKinney (No. 8, 40 goals, 68 assists) and Jared Franze (No. 6 , 67 goals, 80 points). McKinney is bound for Georgetown. Franze is headed to Hartford.
RPI-bound goalie James Manchester anchors the defense with his save percentage of 79.
An intriguing matchup should be Nisky senior defender Stephen Abba on Somers’ JoJo Marasco. Abba is bound for Army, where Marasco’s brother, Matt, is a defenseman. Both Abba and JoJo Marasco wear jersey No. 1.
Tomorrow’s game should have a similar tempo and feel to Somers’ early season game against Cold Spring Harbor. Somers lost that game 7-3. Since then, the Tuskers’ offense has become more balanced and more patient. And there’s no comparing the Tuskers’ schedule to that of Niskayuna.
Prediction: Somers 7, Niskayuna 6
Class C Schuylerville (8-11) vs. Putnam Valley (14-4): Just like Putnam Valley, which has a balanced scoring attack, Schuylerville has no clear go-to guy. Junior attackman Dave Ferris (No. 5) has 26 goals and 44 points and sophomore attackman Colton Barber has 28 goals and 43 points.
A fledging varsity program, Schuylerville should be a bit overmatched against an established squad such as Put Valley.
Schuylerville does get the edge in terms of originality when it comes to nicknames. After all, how many teams do you know of who are called the Black Horses?
Prediction: Putnam Valley 13, Schuylerville 4
Reach Joe Lombardi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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