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COLONIE: Bison reach Sectional final

"Guilderland is very strong defensively, and we're very strong offensively. So the matchup is a lot different than playing Bethlehem, where we were just matching up (offensive) personnel," said Britt.

Both teams have balanced attacks. Shaker is led by a group of five players that includes Kat Thomas and two pairs of sisters " Abigail and Caroline Rehfuss, and Lexi and Devan Dalcol. Guilderland's attack is paced by veterans Abbey Fashouer, Nikki Branchini, Amanda Best and Danielle Tetreault. Courtney Davis, Chelsey Newman and Bridget Daley have also been consistent contributors.

"We have eight people who have scored on a regular basis, and that's the difference this year," said Chatnik.

Fatigue won't be a factor for either team unless the game goes into overtime again. With eight days between the semifinal and championship rounds, the teams have plenty of time to recover. That is especially important for Shaker, which was worn out from its double overtime victory over Bethlehem.

"We really rested our midfield (in regulation) so we'd be fresh at the end, but we still lost Abigail Rehfuss and Kat Thomas for the entire second overtime period," said Britt.

The winner of Thursday's final will be only the third different team since Section II started holding girls lacrosse playoffs in 1994, but Chatnik and Britt said more schools could enter the championship mix in the coming years.

"You're seeing parity, and it's exciting," said Britt. "So many high school coaches are involved in the Albany Elite (summer) program and getting their kids involved in the program, and this year is a direct result of that cooperative effort.""

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