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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, March 25, 2010
Lady Dutch lacrosse team still shooting for state title
By Jordan J. Michael
SCHENECTADY Every team has its ultimate dream. It may take a lot of time and a lot of hard work to turn that dream into a reality.
For the Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team, that dream is winning a state title. After three consecutive Class A championships and two repeated trips to Cortland for the state semi-finals, the team has come painfully close to grabbing it.
The Lady Dutch fell to Farmingdale by one goal in the final seconds of last year’s state final. How much closer can the team get?
“It’s true, we had an excellent chance last season, but I think we still have a great shot,” Head Coach Gary Chatnik said during practice at Union College on Tuesday. “Winning a state title is made up of a bunch of pieces. We’re going to go ahead and add another piece and hope for the best.”
With seven senior All Stars on last year’s roster, it seemed like Guilderland’s best opportunity to win it all. Now, with those seven girls gone, some big shoes need to be filled.
“We can’t really replace them, but we can reload with new talent,” said senior Marissa Page. “We’ll continue to play well because this team is taught to do so. All those lessons learned will progress and we’ll take it one day at a time like always.”
Chatnik compared the 2010 team to the 2007 team that won its first sectional title. “They’re young and they’ll make some mistakes early on,” he said. “But those mistakes will be eliminated as we go through the season. They’ll be winners, believe me.”
Page, Kristen Cagino, Jenna Crupi, Ali DeRizzo, Casey Gerety, Becky Glazier, Kat Keegan, Taylor Mead, Amanda Santandrea, Hannah Scott, and Julie Stefani all return to the line-up as seniors.
Sophomores Kendall and MacKenzie Cietek, Shelby Iapoce, Nicole Levine, Jess Madsen, Michaela Maybee, Kelsey Michele, Briana Phillips, and Amanda Van Auken are all new additions for the Lady Dutch.
The seniors are throwing their weight around and showing the new players why Guilderland is known statewide for its winning attitude.
“The seniors know how to win and what to expect and they’re passing down that knowledge everyday,” Chatnik said. “It’s not an easy system to learn but they’ll get it eventually.”
While the attack and midfield cope with some losses, the defense is the focal point. Santandrea is back in goal with Page, DeRizzo, Gerety, Jess Marini, and Mead supporting her on defense.
The defense returns its starters from last season, and Page told The Enterprise that all five girls have been playing together for two or more years. “We know where to go, constantly,” Page said. “We know each other’s game. We know all the different variations.”
Chatnik has plenty of admiration for Santandrea and her goalkeeping. “She’s by far the best in the area,” Chatnik said. “She works harder than anybody and she’s seen many things. That’s what happens.”
Assistant Coach Jami Costello has been running most of the practices so far because Chatnik recently returned from battling pneumonia. Costello is in her second year with varsity after coaching the junior-varsity team for five years.
“It was kind of weird to start the season without Chatnik, but I’ve already coached most of these girls before,” said Costello. “They’re more intense and focused now.”
Guilderland has its booster club to thank for being able to use the turf fields at Union College in Schenectady for practice. “The fund-raising is worth it,” Costello said. “It gives us an advantage and we don’t have to worry about the mud.”
Costello said that the team should be in good shape if it sticks to the same goals as last year.
“You start with sectionals and move from there,” Costello said. “I think we should be able to get back to Cortland if we use our athleticism. This team will continue to attack like always.”
“I think we have unfinished business in Cortland because we came within seconds of winning,” Page said. “That gives us so much motivation to get back. If we work hard and play our game, then we can get there.”
“I see potential and it’s tremendous,” Chatnik said before giving his team directions at Tuesday’s practice. “These girls will be climbing the ladder. They’ll have to work hard, but I see similar results in the end.”