After winning four straight Section II Class D girls soccer championships, the Northville Lady Falcons are gearing up for their drive for five.
The Lady Falcons made it to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championship game in 2011 before falling to Section VII champion Chazy in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss.
Graduation claimed several key elements to the 2012 championship team but coach Chris Edwards is confident his team will be ready to continue the streak.
Northville’s Mary Ryan (6) controls the ball in front of a Coleman Catholic defender during a state Class D regional game in Middletown on?Nov. 12, 2011. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"You can't replace those girls but we have girls on this team that have talent who did not see the field as much because of those girls last year," said Edwards, who was named 2011 co-Coach of the Year by the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports. "But they are ready to step up and are ready to play. It is obvious that they want to play because they have a different attitude because last year they did rely on the players who were seniors and starters. Now it is their turn to step up and if they want it for themselves this year, they know they have got to work for it."
Edwards said a core of returning players, including NYSPHSAA Outstanding Defensive Player of the tournament Mary Ryan, Abby Moore, Kelly VanNostrand, Tessa Hedlund and Veronica Arceri, are among the players who have stepped forward as the leaders on the team.
The Lady Falcons are not the only team looking to get back to the sectional championship game this season.
The Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots advanced to the Class B title game and held Schalmont scoreless through the first 40 minutes of play before the eventual undefeated Class B state champion rallied to defeat the Lady Patriots, 2-0.
The Lady Patriots return a solid core of players to the pitch including Katie Herba, Cassidy and Carly Washburn, Tori Marotta and Michaela Hills.
The Gloversville Lady Dragons return six starters from last year's squad and, along with Broadalbin-Perth, look to be competitive in a strong Foothills Council.
Leading the Lady Dragons' offense this season is Chanel Thomas who netted 18 goals in her sophomore season, Dayna Peck, Dominique Capano, Caroline Bakyta, Emma Botch, Katie LeFever, Katie Orlosky, Natasha Simon and Emily VanNostrand while Alexis Capasso will anchor the defense in goal.
The Johnstown Lady Bills are looking to improve and regroup after posting only a single victory in 2011.
Experience is on the side of Johnstown as 10 players, including seniors Courtney Cirillo, Caitlin, Johnson and Emily Smrtic, return to the field for first-year varsity coach Colleen Froschauer.
In the Western Athletic Conference North, Fort Plain and Canajoharie finished deadlocked for third behind Galway and Northville last season.
However, the WAC has realigned its divisions, going from two to three this year.
Canajoharie, Fort Plain, Sharon Springs and St. Johnsville will comprie one division, while Galway, Mayfield, Northville and Mekeel Christian Academy will make up a second division. Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Duanesburg, Schoharie and Middleburgh will comprise the third WAC division
The teams will play each division rival twice and will play the other eight teams once for a total of 14 league games of their 16-game regular-season schedules.
Canajoharie will be rebuilding this season as graduation claimed 13 players from the 2011 squad. The Ellee Fichthorn-coached Lady Cougars do return their leading scorer, Jenelle Dillenbeck, and midfielder Melissa Bowley.
It is just the opposite for the Lady Hilltoppers as they return 11 players from last year's team, including Jenna Barhydt, Allehah VanLoan, Kaitlin Trumbull, Vicki Dettmer, Jamie Fredericks, Haley Kilmartin, Heather Lawson, Anna Sweet, Kasie Hext, Braylynn Fahy and Kendra Trembley.
St. Johnsville and Oppenheim-Ephratah have joined forces again for the fall soccer season under veteran coach Zale Benton.
St. JOE will fill the void left by 10 graduating seniors, including four-year varsity goalkeeper Victoria Reynolds, from a successful junior varsity program.
A large group of seniors fill the roster for the Shelley Murphy-coached Lady Panthers of Mayfield.
Senior goalkeeper Jennifer Little will anchor the defense. She is joined by fellow upperclassmen Lauren Kearney, Anna Husain, Hanna Cromie, Marie Rist, Kelsey Burton, Killian Horney and Alexis Hime.
Juniors dominate the roster for the Fonda-Fultonville Lady Braves as they prepare to compete in the Colonial Council under first-year varsity coach Cindy Hayes.
Emily Frollo and Guilyan O'Kosky are the lone seniors on the squad that includes 12 juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen.
Deanna Alex begins her second season as head coach of the Amsterdam Lady Rams. Amsterdam graduated five seniors from the 3-5 Big 10 squad but has a strong core of returning players including center midfielder Monica Rouse and second-year freshman goalkeeper Cassandra Robataille.
In Section III, Center State Conference competition, the Dolgeville Lady Blue Devils are poised for a successful season under first year coach Arianna Marucci.
Dolgeville returns Emily Young. who netted 16 goals to go with six assists. and Ashley Mettler who had nine goals and seven assists. They are backed up by goalkeeper Abby Mosenthin who recorded 187 saves last year.