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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 2, 2010

Lady Dutch soccer builds strength for season

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The players on the Lady Dutch soccer team have plenty of speed, but Head Coach Barb Newton is uncertain of their fitness level as the team edges closer and closer to the start of the 2010 season.

“This area is a hotbed for soccer,” Newton said at Monday’s practice. Guilderland plays in the highly competitive Suburban Council with the likes of Bethlehem, Niskayuna, Burnt Hills, and Shenendehowa. “We have to be ready,” said Newton.

Senior Katie Wood said that the team is “hitting” the weight room for “a lot” of fitness exercises that include push ups, sit-ups, and planks, an abdomen-strengthening exercise in which the athlete holds her body rigid, like a plank, in a modified push up position.

Wood wasn’t sure which teammate could lift the most weight, but said, “We’ll find out soon.”

“We have to focus on the fitness side of things first,” said Newton. “We’re behind in that department.”

To end Monday’s practice, players paired up to work on heading the ball. Newton encouraged her players to each throw the whole body into a header. “It’s a challenge, but you can’t show any weakness in the air,” she said. “You have to be aggressive.”

In 2009, the Lady Dutch won one sectional contest and finished with a 9-6-1 record. The team has 16 girls returning, including 10 seniors, all looking to grow as 2010 moves forward.

“We’re trying to build it up,” said senior Jess Marini, going into her fourth year with the Dutch. “We’ve always been young, but talented. Our progression is moving ahead at a steady pace.”

One thing Guilderland has not been able to do in the past five years is beat Bethlehem. The Eagles were the last team the Lady Dutch played last year, losing, 4 to 0, in the Class AA quarterfinals.

“I wish we didn’t have to play them,” said Newton. However, Guilderland meets Bethlehem at least twice every season.

Senior Kyra Malamood is excited to have one last shot at the Eagles. “Beating them would be euphoric at this point,” she said. “We have to be optimistic about it.”

“We always went into it with a strong mentality,” Marini said of past games against Bethlehem. “They’re always a great team, but we never thought that we would be crushed by them.”

Guilderland will have to tighten up on defense since the graduation of its two goalies –– Erin Kelly and Marissa Page. Sophomore newcomer Jenna Cubello will fill the position, and Newton said the defense will be “reworked” to prevent shots. “We have to control the possession,” Newton said.

“We have potential in the back and our speed should help us win the ball,” Malamood said. “I think we should be more concerned about scoring goals.”

Not one player from last year’s team scored 10 goals; junior Marissa Cubillos led the Dutch with six. Newton is hoping to see a few players emerge as top scorers.

“It has to do with confidence and not taking that extra unneeded touch,” Newton said. “We’ll get more shot attempts if we control the ball at our feet and turn with pressure.”

“We’re all pretty fast as is,” said senior Lexxi Martini, pointing out the teams strength. “The fitness work will help our endurance.”

The Lady Dutch may have to improve on a number of pieces before its first game against Mohonasen on Sept. 7, but one part of the team that can’t be compromised is its chemistry as a group. “We’ve all played together for a real long time,” said Wood.

“They all agree on the common goal of getting through sectionals and winning,” Newton said. “Everyone is here to make each other better with individual support.”

Guilderland will spend Friday and Saturday at the Shenendehowa Scramble, which is a series of scrimmages.

“Last year was kind of, you know, whatever,” Wood said. “We have some serious chemistry this time and it should push us through.” 

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