Hoyt, Serpa lead Sir Bills to 9-6 semifinal victory over Greenwich

Johnstown's Nate Schrom (23) runs past Greenwich's Luke Pemrick (4) during Tuesday's Section II Class D semifinal game at Knox Field in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

JOHNSTOWN — For the first time since 2006, the Johnstown boys lacrosse team will be playing for a sectional title.

The second-seeded Sir Bills punched their ticket to the Class D title game with a 9-6 victory over third-seeded Greenwich on Tuesday at Knox Field.

“We wanted to get to the sectional title game,” Johnstown coach Scott Petrie said. “It feels good to reach that goal.”

Johnstown will face top-seeded Schuylerville in the Class D championship game Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Schuylerville High School. The Black Horses topped fourth-seeded Voorheesville in their semifinal contest, 14-4.

The teams met May 4 in a non-league contest at Schuylerville (16-1 overall), with the Black Horses posting a 13-6 victory.

To earn a rematch, Johnstown had to first find a way past Greenwich, which posted a 9-5 victory at Johnstown on May 13. The Sir Bills posted a 9-5 win at Greenwich on April 10.

“You never want to lose a game, but losing to Greenwich last week woke us up a bit,” Petrie said.

Josh Hoyt led the Johnstown offense with four goals, while Zach Serpa had three goals. Chase Benton and Alec Yerdon also scored for the Sir Bills (15-2 overall), and Trevor Murphy finished with six assists.

Sam Whiting scored three goals to lead Greenwich, Henry Gartner had a goal and two assists, and Chris Albrecht and Liam Kelleher also scored.

Greenwich opened the scoring with a goal by Kelleher on an assist from Gartner with 6:10 left in the opening quarter.

Johnstown pulled even with a goal by Hoyt with 5:41 remaining in the first quarter. Hoyt gave the Sir Bills a 2-1 lead with an unassisted goal with 5:20 to play inthe opening frame.

The Witches responded with a goal by Whiting to knot the game at 2-2, only to have Johnstown regain the lead with just 30 seconds left in the first quarter when Yerdon scored on an assist by Murphy.

Johnstown extended its lead to 4-2 just eight seconds into the second quarter when Serpa scoredon an assist from MJ Heroth.

Greenwich pulled to within a goal when Whiting scored on an assist from Gartner to make it 4-3 with 10:42 left in the first half.

“We wanted to dominate ground balls. It becomes a team effort,” Petrie said. “We wanted them bad tonight.”

Johnstown finally opened some breathing room by scoring the final three goals of the first half to take a 7-3 lead at the break.

Benton scored on a Murphy assist to push the Sir Bills’ lead to 5-3 with 9:56 left in the first half, while Hoyt scored on an assist from Murphy to make it 6-3 with 7:30 left.

Serpa capped the first-half scoring on an assist from Murphy with 5:57 to play in the second quarter.

Johnstown goalie Kyle Salamack and his defense limited Greenwich to just three first-half goals and he finished with eight first-half saves.

After the break, the Witches came out firing, outshooting Johnstown by an 11-4 margin.

The Witches scored the first goal of the second half, getting a goal from Chris Albrecht to make it 7-4 with 9:04 to play in the third quarter.

Johnstown got a goal from Hoyt with 3:11 to play in the third to make it 8-4, only to have Gartner answer for the Witches with just 39 seconds to play in the quarter to keep his team within striking distance.

In the fourth quarter, Serpa scored the final goal for the Sir Bills with 7:33 left to play to make it 9-5.

Whiting scored the game’s final goal with 4:30 to play, making the final score 9-6.

Salamack made 11 of his 23 saves in the fourth quarter to help the Sir Bills hold on for the win.

“They were peppering Kyle, especially in the second half,” Petrie said. “He made some phenomenal saves for us.”

Matt Ginart made 10 saves for Greenwich.

“That was a heck of a team that we beat,” Petrie said. “I’m so impressed with [Greenwich’s] character. They have en established product and culture. From day one, that’s what we’ve tried to do here as well and it seems like it’s here now.”

The Sir Bills now head to Schuylerville on Friday looking for their first sectional title since 2006.

“We’re looking forward to playing for a sectional title,” Petrie said.