The Guilderland girls lacrosse team took a big step last year when it won its first Section II, Class A title.
Now, the Lady Dutch face the challenge of repeating as Sectional champions.
We've had a taste of winning, and we liked it. We're going to work hard to try to repeat it, said Guilderland coach Gary Chatnik.
The good news for the Lady Dutch is that they're returning all of their starting attackers and midfielders including points leader Abby Fashouer and leading goal scorer Danielle Tetreault. Sophomore Chelsey Newman is also back, as are juniors Amanda Best, Courtney Davis and Jen Madsen.
"The whole offense returns, which is nice," said Chatnik. "And they all can score goals. It's not a one person show."
The possible problem area for Guilderland is its defense, where only one starter (Lauren Cagino) is back. Several players that served as reserves last year will see significant playing time including goaltender Amanda Santandrea and defenders Amy Branchini Corinne Chatnik. Newcomers Marissa Page and Casey Gerety will also be part of coach Chatnik's defensive rotation.
"We graduated a lot of the defense, but we have some young kids who are ready to step up," said Chatnik.
Chatnik said he is impressed by how far Santandrea has come along since backing up Jen Kaye last year.
"We've had a couple of scrimmages, and she's looked very good," he said. "I think she'll surprise some people in the Suburban Council."
The Lady Dutch were scheduled to open their Suburban Council season Tuesday against Bethlehem in Delmar, weather and field conditions permitting. Their first home game will be Thursday against defending Section II, Class B champion Niskayuna in another of what Chatnik expects to be a series of challenging league games.
"I think you're looking at six or seven teams that will compete (for first place)," said Chatnik. "The Suburban Council is very strong. You can't take anyone lightly, and we don't take anyone lightly.""