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Boys lacrosse: Guilderland embarks on cross-country journey

Dutchmen face two northwestern powers this weekend

Guilderland’s Nick Titolo, left, gets by a defender during last Thursday’s practice at the high school. The Dutchmen are preparing for this week’s trip to the northwest, where they will face Bellevue, Wash., and two-time  defending Oregon champion Lincoln.

Guilderland’s Nick Titolo, left, gets by a defender during last Thursday’s practice at the high school. The Dutchmen are preparing for this week’s trip to the northwest, where they will face Bellevue, Wash., and two-time defending Oregon champion Lincoln. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— The Guilderland boys lacrosse team is going to great lengths to get ready for the Suburban Council season.

The Dutchmen are heading west to Mercer Island in Washington State this week to play Bellevue High School and two-time defending Oregon champion Lincoln.

Coach Sean McConaghy said the lacrosse booster club helped raise the money for the round-trip plane tickets for the players. The team will be staying with host families while they are in Seattle, which cut down on the cost of the trip.

“The parents that were involved in the fundraising efforts were huge,” said McConaghy. “They were there meeting after meeting.”

The games against two of the Northwest’s top boys lacrosse teams are part of McConaghy’s strategy to prepare his team for the rigors of another tough Suburban Council schedule.

“That’s part of the reason we’re doing it – to see other competition in this country,” said McConaghy. “Another part of the reason we’re doing it is to get ready for the season.”

Guilderland is looking to win the Suburban Council South Division title outright this season after sharing it with Colonie last year.

“That’s goal No. 1,” said McConaghy. “Goal No. 2 is to have a chance at the (Section II Class A) championship game.”

Unlike last year, McConaghy doesn’t have to worry about breaking in a new batch of varsity players. Fourteen veterans are back this season including Taylor Dubose, Connor McLachlan, Danny Santandrea and Sean Klim, who is entering his third season as the Dutchmen’s starting goaltender. Senior defender Dan Rogers returns after missing the 2011 season due to a torn ACL in his left knee.

“The seniors on this year’s team have been getting significant playing time for us since they were sophomores, so that experience will help us,” said McConaghy.

McConaghty said generating offense will be a key this year.

“We have to score over 10 goals every game,” said McConaghy. “If we don’t, we’ll lose. We’re not slowing anything down. We’re going to push the ball.”

Scoring goals might be a bit easier for Guilderland this season. Some of the Suburban Council’s top goaltenders graduated last year, led by Shenendehowa’s Bobby Wardwell. Still, McConaghy said that the league will be tough with Shen and Niskayuna leading the list of contenders.

After this week’s trip to Mercer Island, Guilderland will get nearly two weeks off before beginning its Suburban Council season against Columbia April 3 at home.

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