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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 12, 2012

Dutch girls’ lacrosse off to undefeated start, now 4-0
By Jordan J. Michael

BETHLEHEM –– The Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team continues to be superior. Head Coach Gary Chatnik has the Dutch prepared for another title run.

Guilderland is extremely dangerous and quick in the open field, but the most impressive aspect so far in 2012 is the defense. The Dutch held a talented Bethlehem team to only two goals on the road last Thursday.

The Eagles had trouble finding lanes to the Guilderland goal. When Bethlehem did find room for a shot, Jess Madsen was there for a timely save for the Dutch.

“We’re trying to get as much pressure on the ball as we can,” said Madsen this week of the 12-to-2 victory over Bethlehem. “The defense stays compacted and makes the opponent prone to mistakes.”

The Eagles had nowhere to go, and routinely pulled the ball back during free positions. A free position is a shooting lane rewarded to a team after a penalty.

Senior Shelby Iapoce, who scored two goals, said that Guilderland is really focused. “We’re really hungry for the ball,” she said. “We want to play really hard, but we don’t want to hurt anyone.”

Defenders’ sticks must stay away from the head at all times. Body contact and shooting space is also closely monitored.

“Our work ethic is excellent,” Chatnik said. “I like where we are right now. Holding Bethlehem to two goals is impressive because we expected a fight.”

Guilderland usually brings the best out of its opponents. The Eagles fought, but found no reward.

“Coach always tells us to take it one step at a time,” said senior Kelly Camardo, who also scored two goals against Bethlehem. “We can’t take anything lightly.”

The Dutch are 4-0 and have outscored its opponents, 67 to 15. In an 18-to-4 win over Colonie on March 31, twelve different players scored for Guilderland. Last Thursday, the Dutch led 8 to 0.

“The scoring is balanced across the board,” Chatnik said. “If someone is going to score 10 goals, then they’ll score 10 goals, but, when the balance is there, they’re harder to guard.”

Sharing the ball gives Guilderland a better chance at being victorious. Chatnik alters the playbook every week.

“We have blue collar players,” said Chatnik. “It doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we do.”

Iapoce told The Enterprise that Chatnik’s deep playbook keeps the team on its toes. “There’s always something new,” she said. “We learn every position and study the plays.”

Sometimes, Guilderland will be stuck, Camardo says, but the team has a lot of options to escape when it’s in trouble. “We like to pass the ball around,” she said. “It’s trust. Everyone counts.”

Guilderland won 79 straight games over almost five years, winning four consecutive Class A titles, before losing to Niskayuna in last season’s championship game. Chatnik said the team doesn’t have many aspirations besides trying to win another title in 2012, but he wants to take it one game at a time.

“Every player is stronger, better,” Chatnik said of his 18 returning players. “They work really hard at this, and I hope the best for them. It should work out well if we continue to execute.”

The Dutch have a tough stretch of games, starting with Shenendehowa today, and continuing with Niskayuna, Shaker, Saratoga, and a few non-league match-ups in between. Section II lacrosse teams have gotten better because more girls are playing the sport.

“A championship would be ideal, yes, but we have to play with no regrets,” Iapoce said. “Every game is the biggest game.”

Losing to Niskayuna last year was a motivator, Camardo said.

“The team seems more confident this year,” Madsen said. “Probably because this is our last chance to go really far.”

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