The Shaker girls soccer team got off on the right foot in the Section II, Class AA playoffs specifically, Caitlin Cahalan's right foot.
The junior forward scored her team's first three goals on her way to a four-point afternoon to lift the Blue Bison past Troy 8-0 in last Friday's first round in Latham.
There were definitely good passes by my teammates, and I was lucky to finish them," said Cahalan.
"It's what we needed to do," said Shaker coach Heather Daniels. "We needed to come out and make our mark, and we did that."
Cahalan has been making her mark all season. Friday's four goals lifted her season total to 32 " three shy of her personal goal of 35.
"I had 15 last year, and I really wanted to improve from that," said Cahalan. "I knew we'd have to score a lot of goals, and 35 seemed like a good number to me."
Cahalan's usual partner-in-goal-scoring is senior midfielder Becca Millock, but on Friday it was Kat Thomas who helped Cahalan get Shaker's offense started. Thomas assisted on Cahalan's first two goals, which came in the opening 10 minutes.
After Cahalan's third goal, Shaker started spreading the wealth around. Sophomore midfielder Krista Pilla and freshman forward Bridget Malicki tallied later in the first half to give the Blue Bison a 5-0 halftime lead.
Senior forward Corinne Pro tacked on a goal early in the second half, and
sophomore Rhiannon Spencer tallied midway through the final 40 minutes to extend Shaker's advantage to 7-0 before Cahalan capped the scoring by heading the ball into the goal in the final 10 minutes.
"It's nice to see my teammates score, and it's nice to get assists once in a while," said Cahalan, who leads Shaker with 39 points. "It's relieving (not to be the only goal scorer). I don't have that much pressure."