The Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team that had its way with Shenendehowa Thursday looked so different than the group that lost three one-goal games early in the season.
Different, as in more intense, and much more potent.
“This team had to find its center,” first-year Guilderland coach Carrie Britt said after an 18-8 Section II Class A semifinal win over the Lady Plainsmen. “They had to define how they wanted to play.”
During a winning streak that reached eight games Thursday, Guilderland has been super aggressive at the midfield, which has resulted in increased possessions and given its talented offensive cast plenty of opportunities.
Guilderland (No. 2 seed. 14-4) raced to an 11-4 halftime lead against Shenendehowa, and assumed complete control when Shannon Mackesey sandwiched goals around one by Rebecca Golderman in the opening minutes of the second half.
“Before the game, we talked about the game coming down to draw controls and getting
50-50 balls,” said Guilderland junior Cara Quimby, who had six goals and an assist. “We had to have the ball to make things happen.”
Guilderland has been making things happen since it dropped one-goal Suburban Council games to Bethlehem, Niskayuna and Shaker, and lost to non-league foe Long Meadow soon after.
“I think Saratoga was a great game for us. That’s when we started feeling the team chemistry and really started working together,” Quimby said of a 16-10 win that started Guilderland’s streak of success. “Defense to offense, it all came together.”
Guilderland’s run, which includes a 16-4 quarterfinal win over Colonie, has resulted in an eighth consecutive Class A title-game berth. The Lady Dutch will take on Shaker (No. 1,
14-1) in Wednesday’s 7:30 final at the University at Albany after the Blue Bison topped Saratoga Springs, 15-6.
“It’s going to be awesome. It was a great game the last time we played them,” Quimby said of Guilderland’s 12-11 overtime setback at Shaker on April 15. “We’re so excited. We want to show them what we’ve got.”
A balanced offense with quick-strike ability is one of those things. Morgan Hardt scored goals 28 seconds apart to give Guilderland a 4-1 lead.
Quimby and Hardt connected 20 seconds apart late in the first half, and Mackesey and Golderman scored 22 seconds apart to start the second period.
That goal by Golderman came after she won a center draw and ran directy toward the cage before unleashing a waist-high shot.
“They made big plays at certain times, and that allowed them to crack the game open,” said Shenendehowa coach Jen Sykes.
“Our girls had every intention of making that clock run today,” said Britt.
Mackesey collected four goals and two assists, Golderman had four goals and an assist and Hardt finished with three goals and an assist in Guilderland’s second win over the Lady Plainsmen (No. 3, 11-7).
“Our offense today just went for it,” said Britt. “We made their defense play one-on-one. If we do that, we’re a very dangerous team.”
Kaitlyn Hess had a strong game for Guilderland with 12 saves, three of them coming on free position shots.
“We were all really clicking,” said Quimby, who has committed to Syracuse.
“From our goalie to the offense.”
Jordyn Marr had two goals and an assist for Shenendehowa, and Rachel Picchi and Madi Shea both scored two goals.
“Our starting seven on offense consists of one senior, three sophomores and three juniors,” said Sykes. “We’re getting there. They are there.”
Four of Guilderland’s five Section II championship-game wins have come against Shaker, including last year’s 15-8 victory.
Shaker claimed its only title in 2012, when Julia Lennon scored late in a 9-8 win over Guilderland.
Lennon had seven goals and an assist, and Sarah Cheney notched four goals and four assists in Thursday’s win over Saratoga. Molly Kern and Ann Mahoney scored two goals apiece for the Blue Streaks (No. 4, 8-10).
GUILDERLAND 18, SHENENDEHOWA 8
Shenendehowa 4 4 — 8
Guilderland 11 7 — 18
Shenendehowa scoring: Rachel Picchi 2-0, Jordyn Marr 2-1, Katie Kerner 1-2, Madi Shea 2-0, Melissa Rosenthal 1-0, Nicole daCunha 0-1. Guilderland scoring: Rebecca Golderman 4-1, Cara Quimby 6-1, Morgan Hardt 3-1, Isabella Sericola 0-1, Shannon Mackesey 4-2, Michaela Jones 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Shenendehowa, Lexi Keen, 5 saves. Guilderland, Kaitlyn Hess, 12 saves.
SHAKER 15, SARATOGA SPRINGS 6
Saratoga Springs 4 2 — 6
Shaker 8 7 — 15
Saratoga Springs scoring: Elizabeth Kelly 1-0, Molly Kern 2-0, Ann Mahoney 2-0, Nicala Sirianni 1-0, Maria Zinter 0-1. Shaker scoring: Sarah Cheney 4-4, Kailyn Hart 1-0, Julia Lennon 7-1, Maeve Lennon 2-1, Carlie Maxwell 0-2, Eva Torncello 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Saratoga Springs, Zoe Cavotta, 14 saves. Shaker, Julia Maloney, 11 saves.