BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — This season will mark the close of a very successful era of play for the Niskayuna girls’ soccer team.
The hope, though, is that the players still around who helped the Silver Warriors win a Section II Class AA title in 2013 and advance to the semifinals last year are ready to help mold the next generation of local soccer stars.
“This is the tail end of that core of players for us,” said Bryce Colby, the team’s head coach. “Next year will kind of be a new generation for us.”
The old guard, though, is a proven one at the varsity level for Colby. While the coach cautions his team — which went 11-6-1 last year — has a lot to figure out for the 2015 season, the Silver Warriors boast tested stars all across the field. Marika Contompasis returns to lead the offense, Hannah Munro and Alissa Franze plan to provide steady play at the midfield, and Erica Wasserbach will lead the defensive unit.
“We have a good core of returning players,” Colby said.
Most of the Silver Warriors’ defections for 2015 from last year’s roster come on the defensive side of the field. That could be a concern early in the season, but the squad is confident it will have things figured out before too long.
“We have to build up our defense again, but we’re going to be OK there,” Contompasis said. “We have some good potential. … We have a lot of younger kids who have been working very hard and that’s showed in our scrimmaging.”
Niskayuna’s senior members — two of whom are hurt from their spring lacrosse seasons in Erin Doyle and Alexa Franze; Colby said Doyle, last year’s starter in goal, is the more likely of the two to return to game action this season — have helped to bring along the club’s younger players. Munro, a four-year varsity player, ran captain’s practices in the summer months, and said those helped to prepare the varsity newcomers for what to expect during their first varsity preseason.
“Most of us, all the juniors and seniors, we’ve gone through this,” Munro said. “I’ve done it for years now, so you know what to expect.”
For the team’s senior class members, Munro said it has been difficult to comprehend that this season is their last playing for Niskayuna. After so many successful years together, Contompasis said the goal is to make this year’s season just as memorable.
“All the seniors from last year tell you how it will fly by,” she said. “I can’t even believe the season is already starting.”
Munro said talk of team goals for the campaign will wait until the squad is through its Aug. 28-29 multi-team scrimmage in Clifton Park. The end goal, though, always remains the same.
“We just want to go for it,” Munro said. “We want to make that sectional final.”
Niskayuna girls’ soccer schedule for the 2015 season:
- Sept. 1, 4:15 p.m.: at Ballston Spa
- Sept. 3, 4:15 p.m.: hosts Mohonasen
- Sept. 8, 4:15 p.m.: at Columbia
- Sept. 10, 4:15 p.m.: hosts Colonie
- Sept. 12, 1 p.m.: at Albany
- Sept. 15, 4:15 p.m.: hosts Troy
- Sept. 17, 4:15 p.m.: at Averill Park
- Sept. 19, 1 p.m.: at Washingtonville
- Sept. 21, 4:15 p.m.: at Guilderland
- Sept. 24, 4:15 p.m.: hosts Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
- Sept. 26, 1 p.m.: at Baldwinsville
- Sept. 29, 4:15 p.m.: hosts Bethlehem
- Oct. 6, 4:30 p.m.: hosts Schenectady
- Oct. 8, 7 p.m.: hosts Saratoga Springs
- Oct. 13, 7 p.m.: at Shenendehowa
- Oct. 15 , 7 p.m.: at Shaker