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.

Game previews

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

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14 Responses to “What to watch for at the state quarterfinals in Albany”

  1. Re-LAX-N says:

    Hey Joe,

    You will always be #1 in our playbook. As for tomorrows games. I must say I am a bit taken a back at the lack of respect Yorktown seemss to be getting. Last time I checked they were 17-2 They lost to a very good Ward Melville team and the loss to Wilton although a surprise had no bearing on their seeding. Let’s remember they had wins against St. Anthony’s , Chaminade, Darien, Somers, John Jay, and two against L/P. They also beat a good Mahaopac squad 10-1 They may not be as dominant a team as in the 80’s and early 90’s or early 2000’s but they find ways to win. As for the game against Guilderland, the weather could be a factor, I see the games as follows, rain or shine.

    Town 11 Guilderland 6
    Somers 10 Nisky 9
    PutValley 13 Schuyerville 6.

    In any case section one has brought us all a lot of excitement and joy this year,m and I wish all of the young men much success and hope the games are clean and no one gets injured.

  2. Joe Lombardi says:

    Re-LAX-N, looks like we’re pretty much in agreement with the scores. I originally had Yorktown to win 11-7, but took away one goal before completing the preview to come up with the 10-7 score.

    The main factor in picking Yorktown somewhat comfortably and Somers in a squeaker is strength of schedules. Would it surprise me if Nisky beat Somers, say 6-4 or 7-4? Of course not. But I have to give Somers the benefit of the doubt here. The Tuskers have played Ridgefield, Cold Spring Harbor, Cheshire, Yorktown and beaten John Jay twice. My advice to Niskayuna going forward would be to do whatever it can to play more games outside its immediate region besides John Jay.

    You brought up the weather. It doesn’t look great. Obviously, rain won’t be a factor as we all know by now — unless there are torrential downpours. But if there are thunderstorms or lightning, there will be mandatory delays. The forecast for Thursday’s semifinals doesn’t look too promising either.

    Here’s the latest forecast for the Albany area:

  3. TownLax says:

    Well said Relax. As the PA announcer said at the Murph Cup this year “No one does it better than Joe Lombardi.” So true.

    Joe – I think your picks are right on the mark. I think your first Yorktown score of 11-7 may have been better though. 😉

  4. Re-LAX-N says:


    You are correct again, I guess great mind’s think alike. I know one of the main reasons stayed in class A was due to un finished business. The loss to Syossett last year still hurts. It will be interesting to see what type of offense Yorktown try’s to reun considering the weather could be poor. As I mentioned to you previously I won’t be able to make the games as I will be Teaching a traing class all day. But I do look forward to your updates, and hope to see you on Thursday. What are your thoughts on West Islip Hicksville?. Do you give Hicksville any chance of pulling upset.?

  5. […] What to watch for at the state quarterfinals in Albany Jun 08  Email This […]

  6. Joe Lombardi says:

    I kind of look at West Islip the way I do Yorktown. Let’s not forget, WI lost to Syosset last year too. Does Hicksville have a chance? Sure. But I think West Islip will win pretty handily. Let’s say 11-5 or along those lines.

    I think Sayville will be Long Island’s surprise team this year. I’m going with them 8-7 over Garden City.

    In Class C, Manhasset 9, Mount Sinai 4.

  7. Re-LAX-N says:

    Again Joe,

    I think you are correct Hicksville could win against West Islip, but is very unlikely. last year I think Syosset crept up on W.I. and Town I do not see that happening this year.

    West Islip 12 Hicksville 5

    I think Sayeville could be a surprise but I am going with the Trojans

    GC 9-Sayville 7

    In Class C I agree with you, but just so we don’t have the same score

    Manhasset 10 Mount Saini 5

  8. […] • What to watch for at Section 2 vs. Section 1 games in Albany […]

  9. Lax 17 says:

    Guilderland 10 Ytown 7
    Nisky 8 Somers 4

  10. mick says:

    Town 13 Guilderland 4 This one is over early folks!

  11. MissingLAX says:

    Just wanted to thank you for updating those of us who can’t make these games with quick exciting updates like last Thursday from White Plains. Loved that I could keep updated. Great job!

  12. Capital Lax says:

    Should be a good day for the Albany teams. The wet turf will hold scoring down a bit which benefits Guilderland and Nisky. I think both should win with Guilderland vs. Yorktown being a 9-7 type game. Somers won’t get more than two or three goals.vs. Nisky D. . Enjoy the games.

  13. syracuse says:

    Yorktown 11, Guilderland 8
    Niskayuna 7, Somers 6
    Putnam Valley 10, Schuylerville 4

    The Somers-Nisky game should be a classic. It wouldn’t surprise me if Somers pulls out the win because it is playing its best lax of the season, but Nisky’s defense could frustrate the Tuskers from the opening whistle.

    Somers, push the ball whenever you can because 6-v-6 Nisky is nasty.

    If indeed Guilderland goes with some kind of hybrid shutoff approach on Ranagan and Interlicchio, it will be up to the Town defense until adjustments are made or Lieberman, Casey, Schuldt, Porcelli, etc. find their marks.

    Most importantly for Yorktown, you must win draws, groundballs and play smart. Stay out of the box and make your passes true.

  14. just a fan says:

    Capital Lax….Nice prediction of the Town game. Guilderland was crushed!

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