Coach Gary Chatnik spoke at length about the potential of his Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team following Thursday’s season-opening 18-7 win at Colonie.
In weeks to come, he may be talking about another championship squad.
“It’s not going to happen out of the gate, but I can see them growing, and it’s fun to watch that,” Chatnik said after his Lady Dutch opened defense of their Suburban Council title. “They’re going to make mistakes, and they want to learn from them. They want to get better, and I think they will. In time, I think they’re going to be a terrific team.”
It’s a new-look team, missing eight seniors who propelled Guilderland to a fantastic three-year run that culminated in a trip to the state Class A final last June. Guilderland lost that game to Farmingdale in the closing seconds, 10-9, and finished with a 23-1 record.
Guilderland finished 22-1 in 2008 after reaching the state semifinals.
“We’re going to be young this year, but they have the talent,” said Chatnik, who has 10 new varsity players to go along with 14 letter winners. “They have to believe they have the talent.”
Guilderland lost a load of talent including All-Americans Danielle Tetreault, Bridget Daley and Jen Madsen, and honorable mention All-Americans Amanda Best and Courtney Davis. They were part of a group that helped Guilderland put together a 62-5 three-year record while winning three league titles and a trio of Section II banners.
“Even though we definitely did lose some good people, we’re not looking at it as a rebuilding year,” said junior attacker Erin Mossop, who had a career-high six goals and two assists Thursday. “We’re getting back on the horse. We plan on being in the sectional final again, and we expect to go on from there.”
Mossop is well aware that Guilderland isn’t in championship form just yet.
“We’ve got to work on our communication. We’ve got to get better at passing and catching. We’ve got to come together as a team,” she said. “If we do those things, we should be there.”
Guilderland did all of those things better in the second half, when it outscored Colonie, 9-2. Mossop and fellow veteran Amanda Santandrea set the tone early in the second half when Mossop scored goals nine seconds apart, and Santandrea made a stick save on a free-position opportunity by the Garnet Raiders.
“We definitely progressed as the game went along,” said Mossop. “The defense was saving out butts in the first half. In the second half, we did a lot better. Our defense was clearing the ball, the cuts were there and the passes were there.”
“They turned up the heat in the second half and ran through it,” said Colonie coach MaryLou Vosburgh. “The difference in the second half is they know how to win. They had a couple of key players come through.”
Mossop collected four goals in the second half, the junior’s final two coming in a five-goal run as the Lady Dutch opened up a 16-6 advantage. Mossop also closed the first-half scoring with 40 seconds left to make it 9-5.
“Last year I didn’t start, and my role when I came in was more of a feeder,” said Mossop. “I’ve stepped into a different role where I have to look for the cage and attack more. It’s big shoes to fill, but it’s exciting.”
Kelsey Michele had three goals and an assist for Guilderland, fellow newcomer Michaela Maybee scored two goals and returnee Kelly Camardo also scored two goals.
“Girls have to step up and be scorers and leaders for us,” said Chatnik. “It’s going to take some time, but this team is going to find its own identity.”
Jenn Rogaski and Lexi Brannigan scored goals 13 seconds apart to give Colonie a 2-1 edge early on. Guilderland answered on goals Kendall Cietek, Kristen Cagino and Jenna Crupi, and another three-goal run which included both of Maybee’s goals made it 8-4.
“In the first part of the first half, they outplayed us. They were getting more ground balls,” said Chatnik. “After a while, we started to come around.”
“They graduated a lot, but they can still turn it on,” said Vosburgh. “We’re still learning how to respond to that.”
Brannigan led Colonie (0-1, 0-2) with three goals and an assist, and Kelley Murphy played a rarely seen dual role, starting and finishing the game in the cage while also playing in the field. The sophomore finished with 15 saves, several on point-blank shots.
Colonie let a 5-3 halftime lead get away in a season-opening, 8-6 loss to Albany Academy.
Guilderland 9 9 — 18
Colonie 5 2 — 7
Guilderland scoring: Erin Mossop 6-2, Kelsey Michele 3-1, Kendall Cietek 1-0, Kristen Cagino 1-0, Jenna Crupi 1-2, Casey Gerety 0-1, Michaela Maybee 2-0, Hannah Scott 0-1, Kelly Camardo 2-0, Mackenzie Cietek 1-0, Briana Phillips 1-0. Colonie scoring: Lexi Brannigan 3-1, Ali Griffin 1-0, Jenn Ragoski 2-0, Kaylee Sherwin 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Guilderland, Amanda Santandrea, 7 saves. Colonie, Kelley Murphy, 15 saves; Katie McGuire, 7 saves.
Categories: High School Sports