JOHNSBURG - "A lot of people doubted that we would make it this far," said senior field hockey player Margaret Welz.
Johnsburg was not favored to win the Adirondack League over Warrensburg this year, but they took the league title without a single loss and boasted a 12-1 overall record.
League play ended on Sept. 14 as the Jaguars faced the Burgers at home and were able to ring their victory bell after a 1-0 score.
Kelly Blackhurst netted the goal that pushed Johnsburg to a win off an assist from fellow senior Kelsey Williford's corner pass.
The Jaguars outshot the Burghers 6-2, outcornered them 16-2 and dominated most of the field. Blackhurst's point found the goal from near the top of the circle with 5:06 left in the first half.
This year's squad is the first team in Johnsburg's history to go undefeated since their premier in the league in the late seventies.
Coach Jill Toney attributes the season's success to the girls who began this quest when they started playing the sport in fourth grade - her seniors. They include Kelly Blackhurst, Emily Burns, Samantha Burns, Keri Cleveland, Margaret Welz, Kelsey Williford and Brittney Allard.
"These young ladies have worked so hard for so long and I hope they finally get the titles that they deserve," said Toney.
Beating Warrensburg and sweeping the Adirondack League was a long time coming for Johnsburg's seniors and their victories were extra sweet. After suffering some tough loses last year, the Jaguar season came to an early end.
"We were motivated from last year's loses to give all we had," said senior Keri Cleveland.
The Lady Jags did not, however, underestimate Warrensburg's potential. The Burghers have tallied very few loses on their home field and Johnsburg was the lone team to beat them there this year.
"We really came together and played our game," said Blackhurst.
"And it's better," Samantha Burns added, "because they're not just some team we beat, they are a good team."
Despite a tough season last year, the Jaguars are no stranger to championships. They were tied for the league title in 2006 and made their way to the sectional finals for the first time ever in 2007.
Johnsburg has yet to be seeded for sectionals and are taking it one game at a time in post season play, before the Class C quarterfinals begin on Sept. 27.
"We are going to have to communicate really well and work as a team," Welz said of their plan for upcoming competition.
The rest of the seniors joined her with confidence that their season's success will carry over.
"This could be our girls' year," said Toney.