GUILDERLAND For the first time in five years, the Guilderland girls lacrosse team isn’t entering the season as the defending Section II Class A champions.
Niskayuna ended Guilderland’s reign by beating the Lady Dutch 15-14 in last year’s Sectional final, and Guilderland hasn’t forgotten it.
“We’re definitely looking to get that championship back,” said senior goaltender Jess Madsen.
“We’re ready this year,” said Guilderland coach Gary Chatnik. “We’ve got a lot of good talent back, so we’ll be in the hunt again.”
The Lady Dutch return many of last year’s leading scorers including Morgan Hardt, Shelby Iapoce and Kelly Camardo.
“I think our offense will be solid,” said Chatnik. “They’ve grown up a lot and matured a lot during the offseason. They share the ball well, and they’re great shooters.”
“We definitely know how each other plays,” said Camardo. “We know each other strengths, and we can play to that.”
Madsen is also back to anchor Guilderland’s defensive unit, which was one of the best in the Suburban Council last season.
“Having (the returning offensive players), it’s nice knowing that they can control the ball,” said Madsen. “But, it’s also nice knowing that I have my defense back to help me.”
The Suburban Council season should provide Guilderland with challenges beyond its lone game against Niskayuna April 17. Shaker, Bethlehem, Colonie and Shenendehowa are among the other league teams Chatnik said will be tough.
“There are going to be a lot of good teams. There are no easy games anymore,” said Chatnik.
Chatnik has also put together a challenging non-league schedule for his team that includes a home game against Section V power Canandaigua Academy April 14 and a meeting with Massachusetts power Longmeadow April 21.
Still, the Lady Dutch know which team they really want to beat – the one that holds the title that they used to own.
“We definitely worked really hard in the off-season because we know they (Niskayuna) are the team to beat,” said Camardo.