Lose a close one and bounce back.
The Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team did that again Thursday in a game pitting reigning Section II champions, displaying its resiliency in a 15-12 victory over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
“They dug in, especially in the last 10 minutes,” said first-year Guilderland coach Carrie Britt. “I’m really proud of the fact that they kept their heads up and responded appropriately.”
Guilderland (3-3 Suburban Council, 4-3 overall) has been fighting back throughout this transition season, with Thursday’s win marking its third following a setback. The Lady Dutch lost to Shaker in overtime, 12-11, Wednesday, and dropped earlier league games to Niskayuna (12-11) and Bethlehem (13-12 OT).
“We’re not frustrated. We’re eager to win,” said Guilderland junior Cara Quimby. “We’re not looking back. We’re always looking forward. We’re working on the little things and trying to get better each and every game.”
Guilderland lost only one league game from 2007 through last year and captured five Section II Class A titles during that stretch. While All-American Morgan Hardt, Rebecca Golderman and Quimby are back to anchor the front-line offense, Guilderland graduated the bulk of its defense — including All-American Jenna Walsh — lost a trio all-star midfielders and coach Gary Chatnik stepped away due to time constraints with his business.
“I remember a while back when [former Bethlehem coach] John Battaglino lost something like 10 all-stars and there was a headline that read, ‘Eagles Learning to Fly,’ ” said Britt. “That’s kind of like us.”
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake coach Jake McHerron believes Guilderland will fly high as the season progresses.
“You have such great leadership on that team. Hardt, [Shannon] Mackesey, Quimby, they’ve been around the block. They have a successful coach. She knows lacrosse,” he said. “They’re not going to put their heads down. Anyone who thinks they are is wrong. Guilderland has a great program.”
“I think we can make up some ground in the Suburban Council, and the sectionals should be wide open,” said Britt, the former Shaker head coach who assisted Chatnik the last two years. “I think we can be a darkhorse. We have a lot of exciting players.”
Quimby, who committed to Syracuse last year, is among them. She scored Guilderland’s 14th and 15th goals to help seal Thursday’s win, and finished with three goals and three assists.
“We talked about staying composed,” said Quimby. “When we’re calm, we can move the ball and see who is open.”
Golderman scooped up a rebound after a save by Lexie Ball and scored to give Guilderland a 13-11 lead, and Northwestern-bound Nicole Beardsley answered for the Spartans (5-2, 6-2). Quimby turned a Golderman feed into a goal with 4:12 left, and Quimby scored again at the 2:14 mark after a Burnt Hills turnover.
“In the Suburban Council, you play good competition all the time,” said McHerron. “It comes down to the little things, and we threw the ball away in some key situations.
“Positive-wise, we did some great things on offense, and our defense stepped up in some key situations. We’ll take away the most important things and build on those.”
Beardsley had her sixth game in a row with at least seven points, totaling five goals and a pair of assists. Hardt had four goals and an assist, and Mackesey notched three goals.
“We had to play a completely different offense because Burnt Hills pressures aggressively,” said Britt. “Their defense is quick, and they try to keep teams from running their plays.”
Guilderland never trailed after using a 4-1 first-half spurt to break away from a 4-4 tie. Mackesey had two of those goals while Hardt and Michaela Jones also tallied.
“Some of our players who are not our high-profile players stepped up,” said Britt. “Isabelle Sericola and Michaela Jones stepped up. At the half, [goalie] Kaitlyn Hess was frustrated, and she stepped up. She had a great second half.”
“We wanted to come back and play hard,” said Quimby. “Our thought was about taking care of today, not yesterday.”
BH-BL 7 5 — 12
Guilderland 9 6 — 15
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake scoring: Mackenzie LeVan 2-0, Taylor Safford 1-2, Nicole Beardsley 5-2, Haley Schultz 2-0, Nikki Pedone 0-1, Emily Ankabrandt 0-2, Christine Krowel 2-0, Katrina Little 0-1. Guilderland scoring: Cara Quimby 3-3, Michaela Jones 2-0, Morgan Hardt 4-1, Shannon Mackesey 3-0, Kaitlyn Becker 0-1, Rebecca Golderman 2-1, Isabelle Sericola 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Lexie Ball, 7 saves. Guilderland, Kaitlyn Hess, 9 saves.