The Schalmont boys’ soccer team had one day marked on its schedule last fall.
“Last year was the year we were peaking for,” said Sabres coach Jason Beck, “We had a senior team that we knew was going to be very good, and we knew it was going to come down to us and Ichabod Crane.”
The Sabres came up one goal short in the 2013 Class B sectional final, and now have to construct a team that will look very different from its predecessor.
Brion Dufek and Aiden Frank are the only 12th-graders on this season’s team, which also has just four juniors.
“This is a very, very different team,” said Beck, who does have five players who started in the 2013 sectional championship game. “We lost a lot of good players, a lot of experienced seniors.”
The retooling starts in back. Frank and Dufek will give the back four experience as the defense breaks in two defenders and a goalkeeper. Last season’s team surrendered six goals in 20 games, two in 14 Colonial Council games.
“It’s definitely a different team,” said Frank. “It’s a matter of getting everyone working together.
“And we have to play to our style. We’re not big, but we’re fast.”
“The players who were on varsity last year will have to step up their play,” said Dufek. “We had 12 seniors last year, now we have two.”
Sophomore Zach Ericson, one of the returners from the title game, will hold down one of the central defender roles.
“We’re learning to play together,” he said.
The biggest loss was at central midfield, where second-team all-state player Gino Rossi ran the offense that produced 121 goals, fourth best in Section II history.
Junior Cam LaVallee will take over for Rossi, now at Virginia Tech. He was a dependable goal scorer before his sophomore season was cut short by injury.
“He’s running the show,” said Beck. “He’s a very talented player.”
“I have to see my teammates, know where they are. There’s always going to be someone open,” said LaVallee.
“I play center mid on my club team, so I’m used to the position.”
R.J. Hayden, who started in the sectional final as a freshman, will be one of LaVallee’s targets.
“It’s a matter of getting used to playing together,” Hayden said. “We just have to play to our strengths, which is our speed and quickness.”
Chris Hamilton, who played on the state championship baseball team in the spring, also will be a major part of the attack. He scored four goals in Friday’s 8-3 win over Troy.
“The older players, the ones who have played varsity, have to take the leadership roles because we don’t have 12 seniors this year,” said the junior. “We’ve got players who are coming up from JV, and that’s big step. The speed of play is so much quicker.”
“Last year, people expected us to be very good,” said Beck. “Maybe they’ll underestimate us a little this year.”
LaVallle put the Sabres up, 1-0, in Saturday night’s final of the Capital Cup, but Scotia-Glenville got four goals from Owen Fingar to win, 6-1.
Dan Clune and Ian Flaherty had the other goals for the 2-0 Tartans.
Freshman Patrick Palmer assisted on goals by Eddie Schilango, Frrnando Ruiz and Justin Estremera as Schenectady beat Troy, 3-2, in the consolation game.
Sean Dory and Brian Segarra had the Troy goals.
Cole Crotty scored three goals to help Queensbury top LaSalle, 5-1, in the second round of the Adirondack Shootout.
Matt Crisafulli scored three minutes in, and added a second goal, as CBA beat Hudson Falls, 5-3, in a non-league game.
SHORT tops field
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake senior Jared Short won the boys’ Division II race at the Fonda-Fultonville Invitational, covering the three-mile course in 16:43.72.
Josh Moeckl, Kevin Gideon and Michael Bashant gave the Spartans three more runners in the top five.
Jared Short (BH) 16:43.72; Jeremy Carter (AP) 16:54.36; Josh Moeckl (BH) 16:55.12; Kevin Gideon (BH) 17:00.13; Michael Bashant (BH) 17;16.36; Michael Miller (Lan) 17:34.41; Jack Hayes (Glov) 17:59.95; Sean Ash (GF) 18:03.59; Shawn Rousseau (BH) 18:04.69; Malcolm Grandon (BH) 18:18.88.
Troy Hotaling (TacHills) 17:08.02; Dylan DeSobo (Fon) 17:55.11; Nate Madison (TacHills) 18:00.44; Ted Koch (TacHills) 18:08.80; Josh Gallup (May) 18:17.13; Dan Westman (Fon) 18:27.07; Damion Freeman (Fon) 18:32.33; Brendan Sutta (Walkill) 18:34.58; Ben Fasciano (TacHills) 18:53.91; Bruin Smith (Coh) 19:02.12.
Brittany Craven (Glov) 20:52.10; Abigail Williams (Walkill) 20:52.36; Sarah Burton (GF) 21:09.32; Elli Stritch (AP) 22:28.98; Megan Collins (Walkill) 22:36.68; Caitlyn Maloney (Lan) 23:15.18; Jocelynn Reyna (Walkill) 23:24.96; Sydney Julien (AP) 24:20.84; Sarah Ambrosino (Glov) 24:57.59; Tatiana Karmazyn (Lan) 24:57.59.
Sarah Carter (Coh) 22:28.18; Abby Fitzgerald (Coh) 24:49.34; Lily Sencer (Coh) 24:53.90; Ashley Lynch (Coh) 24:58.79; Emily Cromie (May) 25:19.49; Molly Lambo (May) 25:27.66. Kendra Aubin (Coh) 26:24.93; Kelsey Wasson (May) 27:26.02; Rachael Beaumont (TH) 27:27.84; Emily Barker (May) 29:55.95.