ROTTERDAM — Alaina Lange coached from the sideline and the Schalmont girls’ soccer team rolled to another victory.
That combination was a regular one in recent years as Lange led the Sabres’ powerful program to multiple area championships, but Wednesday’s Colonial Council game saw a new twist added to it.
Now coaching a Lansingburgh program looking to improve, Lange left the Sabres’ home field with a 14-0 loss. Her old squad dominated her new one, a result that didn’t necessarily surprise Lange, as she knows Lansingburgh needs time to build itself up.
“It’s not fun to lose. It never is,” said Lange, who left her post at Schalmont and was approved as Lansingburgh’s new coach in May. “But, it’s a process.”
Lange led Schalmont’s varsity team for six seasons, amassing a 112-7-3 mark that included winning four Section II Class B championships and one state title. She hugged Schalmont captains Sofia Cassano and Kelly Sanders during the pre-game captains’ meeting with officials, then offered enthusiastic handshakes and a few more hugs after the game to her former players who are off to a 3-0-0 start under new head coach Ryan Fries.
While Schalmont’s latest blowout win came at her developing team’s expense, Lange said she wants to see the Sabres continue to be successful.
“If they’re doing that, I continue to be proud of them because they all hold a special place in my heart,” said Lange, a graduate of Scotia-Glenville High School and The College of Saint Rose. “They built something really good. They did it. I helped them, but they did it. They did all that, and if that were to collapse, that would be upsetting for me because that means I didn’t do my job right when I was there, because if you do your job right, your impact stays beyond you being there.”
And, early this season, there has been no sign the Sabres are going to do anything other than continue their winning ways with Fries at the helm. Junior Ashley Cirilla scored six goals in Wednesday’s win, while Cassano and senior Alison Waldron had two as the Sabres rolled after going up 3-0 in the opening 10 minutes.
“We really do a good job pushing each other,” Cirilla said.
Prior to topping Lansingburgh, Schalmont defeated Holy Names last week in a rematch of last year’s Section II Class B final that went Holy Names’ way.
“That was a big win for us,” Sofia Cassano said. “That motivated us even more.”
Fries wants to take that motivation and use it to the Sabres’ advantage.
“All those small details,” Fries said is his focus with his team. “Greatness is doing all the little things well. . . . We’re working on fine-tuning details. All these girls have talent. They all have their own way of contributing to this team.”
Cassano said it was a little awkward to play against her old coach, but that it was also fun. At times, she said, she noticed Lange’s Lansingburgh defenders had her moves scouted well.
“She had me marked,” said a laughing Cassano, who will play college soccer at Bryant University. “She knows me.”
In the future, Lange — who, after previously teaching at Schalmont, now is a substitute teacher within the Lansingburgh district and provides personalized coaching through her “A+ Athlete” organization — sees her new program becoming more competitive. That future, she said, could arrive as early as the second half of this season. She’s encouraged by the way her new players have bought into her system, and how willing they are to learn.
“I want to show them they can be better than what they’ve been in the past,” Lange said.