LAKE GEORGE - It started about four or five years ago, when a talented Junior Varsity Boys Soccer team achieved two back-to-back undefeated seasons.
One year ago, those players were warned by Coach Blake White that Varsity play is far faster, more physical, and more mentally demanding.
The squad listened.
Last year, the squad went on a 19-game winning streak,and smashed several school records on their way to a Class CC Section II title.
This year offers new challenges and new opportunities, Blake said as he watched his players practice this week.
"Last year is a hard act to follow," he said, "but I told them, you are going to have to set your standards for this year."
Ten players who were Juniors on that team are back this year, Blake said.
"They know what it took to be a good team," he said.
Returning as Seniors for 2009 are Kyle Burden, Matt Cone, Cameron Dorman, Tim Goutos, Dylan Lambert, Connor Perkett, Spencer Thibault, Thomas Mangiacasale, Casden Schweitzer and Alex West.
Dorman, White said, works his butt off. West, a sweeper back, i now really quick, very aggressive, and recovers well if outplayed on an initial move, White said. At the middle this year is Dylan Lambert, who shoots and dribbles well with both feet. Also, there's Casden Schweitzer, who Blake said is a great ball handler, and is perhaps the team's best all round player. Up front is Matt Cone, who makes good decisions and has increased his speed this year, and Kyle Burden, who provides vitally important play up front. Rounding out the early leaders is Tim Goutos who White said has a lot of energy, can run forever, and play at any position.
Although he said the players will be setting the team goals, Blake didn't hesitate to impose his own standards as he watched his players do conditioning drills.
Blake saw some of his players were doing half-hearted crab pushups.
"Is anybody sweating yet? It shouldn't be easy - and if it is, either you're in incredible shape or you're cheating.....work those arms!"
In 2008, the team had some stellar players that shouldered a lot of the play action - 2008 offensive threat Toby Noble and defender Brendan Dunn, who was named regional Player of the Year and achieved 4th team All-State.
Now in 2009, there may be no superstars, but there's a lot of very good players, White said, and they'll have to work together as a team to be successful.
The squad is up to the challenge of achieving greatness through teamwork and dedication, White said.
"I'm pleased by the attitude and camaraderie they've shown so far," he said. "They know it's their turn to shine."