If ever there was a season where a boys soccer team from Colonie could win Sectionals, this may be it.
Both Colonie and Shaker return the core of their squads after they each finished in the top three of their respective divisions last season.
Experience in the Suburban Council is incredibly important, said Colonie coach Mike Trimarchi. "The players we are returning brought a lot to us last year."
"We're optimistic about the season," said Shaker coach Bill Blesi. "We'll see how things turn out."
Colonie has a chance to win the Suburban Council South Division, thanks to a roster that includes seven returning starters led by leading scorer Tommy Greene and the fact that traditional powers Guilderland and Bethlehem are replacing players at key positions due to graduation.
"We have a real good group of kids who seem to have everything in terms of size, speed and skill," said Trimarchi.
Colonie will have to do without Greene in the opening week, as he is nursing an injury. But Trimarchi said he is optimistic his players will rise to the challenge.
"We are obviously taking having so many returning players as a positive," said Trimarchi.
Over in Latham, Blesi's Shaker Blue Bison feature eight players with significant varsity experience including forwards Alex Stopera and Brandon Risler. Blesi said he's hopeful that the veterans will help Shaker avoid the slow start that cost it a chance to win the North Division last year.
"We've changed some things up to avoid a repeat of last year," said Blesi.
Shaker's competition in the North Division is solid with Shenendehowa, Niskayuna and Saratoga Springs all returning a significant portion of their starting lineups.
"Niskayuna has some returning players that will help them be competitive, and Shen is Shen. They'll have some talented players," said Blesi.
Shaker and Colonie began their seasons Tuesday with divisional opponents. The Blue Bison met Shenendehowa in Latham, while the Garnet Raiders traveled to East Greenbush to play Columbia.""