Clifton Park Don’t call it a rebuilding year.
That’s the message from Shenendehowa boys lacrosse coach Chuck Holohan as he prepares his team for next Tuesday’s Suburban Council opener at Niskayuna.
Shen has only three returning starters from last year’s Section II Class A championship squad, but there are several more Plainsmen with significant playing experience on this season’s roster.
“This is not a rebuilding year,” said Holohan. “We’re looking to reload, not rebuild.”
Holohan plans on testing his team early and often this season. Besides leading off with a rematch of last year’s Class A Sectional final against Niskayuna, the Plainsmen face Ballston Spa, Guilderland, Lakeland-Panas and Yorktown Heights between now and April 20.
“We have a very good, athletic team, but we haven’t been tested,” said Holohan. “That’s why we open with Niskayuna and play Ballston Spa, Guilderland, Lakeland-Panas and Yorktown in the first half of the season. I want to see where we are as a team.”
The most notable loss from last year’s team is goaltender Bobby Wardwell, who graduated in June after a five-year varsity career. Sophomore Ben Robbins replaces Wardwell between the pipes, and Robbins went so far as to take Wardwell’s No. 1 jersey.
“When I was handing out jerseys, I asked (Robbins) which number he wanted,” said Holohan. “He had several numbers to choose from, but he said he wanted No. 1. I told him, ‘You have some big shoes to fill wearing that number,’ and he said he wanted to wear it.”
Holohan said he expects Robbins to handle the responsibility of being Wardwell’s successor well.
“He’s good,” said Holohan. “Is he going to be good enough to win us a Sectional title? We’re counting on him to be that good. As a sophomore, though, he has a lot of room to grow.”