By ROB JONAS
NISKAYUNA – Two quick goals helped No. 3 Niskayuna defeat No. 6 Guilderland 2-0 in the Section 2 Class AA girls soccer quarterfinals Friday, Oct. 19.
Payton Reihs notched both Niskayuna goals to send the Silver Warriors (12-3-2) into a semifinal match-up with No. 2 Shenendehowa (11-3-3) Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Stillwater High School.
“Payton showed up, didn’t she?” said Niskayuna head coach Bryce Colby. “She’s a textbook dual sport athlete. Her physicality, her effort and her athleticism is so important.”
Reihs’ first goal came 2:20 into the first half. Off a Niskayuna corner kick, Reihs collected the ball in front of the Guilderland goal and knocked it past goalkeeper Kiersten Becker.
Guilderland applied heavy pressure on Niskayuna’s defense following Reihs’ goal, but the Lady Dutch could not get a quality shot on goal. Then on the counterattack, Olivia Piraino sent a cross into the penalty box that Reihs redirected into the net for a 2-0 Silver Warrior lead.
“Olivia Piraino made both goals happen,” said Colby. “She drew a corner kick that led to the first goal, and then she did a really good job of holding on to the ball before passing it to Payton for the second goal.”
“We didn’t get our feet under us quickly enough,” said Guilderland head coach Curtis Snyder.
Niskayuna’s offense continued to press into the box, but Guilderland’s defense executed several successful clears to prevent the Silver Warriors from increasing their lead.
“Give Guilderland credit. They were very tough to break down defensively,” said Colby. “Even when you thought you had it, they found a way to break it up.”
Guilderland also had several scoring chances, especially in the second half. However, those chances fell to the wayside thanks to quick thinking Niskayuna defenders.
“Our anticipation [on offense] wasn’t quite there, but to our credit, we were giving them all we could,” said Snyder.