HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Even after 17 straight victories, Hoosick Falls Central School field hockey coach Denise Campbell made sure on Tuesday that her team remained grounded and focused on the task ahead.
Campbell led her team on a run of almost a mile before the official start of practice to get the No. 1 seed Panthers ready for today's Section II, Class C semifinal matchup against No. 4 seed Warrensburg.
Hoosick Falls beat the Burghers twice this season -- once at Schuylerville, 3-2, and at Warrensburg, 4-0.
"They haven't been to Hoosick Falls this year. The first time we played, we were a little overconfident and Warrensburg took advantage of that," Campbell said. "They scored on us, it was the first time all season to that point we had been behind. It was a good test for us."
Most of the time this season, the Panthers get on the board early and often and a fast start will be key against the Burghers. In the team's opening round playoff game against Granville, Hoosick Falls scored three goals in the first five minutes en route to a 7-0 shutout.
"We want to knock the wind out of [Warrensburg's] sail early," said senior captain Carsen Williams. That allows us to have some relief, some cushion. You can relax and play your game."
The second game on the road at Warrensburg was 1-0 at the half before the Panthers scored three times in the second half.
"I definitely think intensity is [important]," Williams said. "If we come off with a lot of intensity and score quickly, knock them back a little bit, it allows us to keep going."
On both sides of the ball, the Panthers have set myriad new records in 2013.
Offensively, Hoosick Falls has 88 goals in 17 games, (an average of 5.1 goals per game) smashing the old record of 78 back in 1990 -- a year the Panthers won a regional title.
The 88 goals are the fifth highest total in Section II history as well.
Individually, freshman Liz Ryan broke Campbell and Sam Skott's record for goals in a season, scoring her record 24th last week against Granville. Between her and fellow freshman Ally Burdick's 12 -- the future is extremely bright.
"It's very impressive how far they've come, even as just young'uns, they are working hard," said senior Katelyn Harrison. "I'm looking forward to see how far they go."
Ryan and Burdick aren't the only big scorers either -- Caytlyn Springer is second on the team with 16 goals, while Olivia Schneider (12 goals) and Williams (11) are all in double figures.
"Our midfielders and backs have done a tremendous job of feeding them the ball, and they can move the ball well up the field," Campbell said.
Hidden behind all that offense is a lockdown defense, led by Harrison. Hoosick Falls has allowed five goals this season -- the third lowest goals allowed in program history -- and have 13 shutouts.
"It's a great accomplishment, but it's just not me," said Harrison, who cited sweeper Lindsay McMahon, back Erika Quackenbush and goaltender Ashley St. Onge as major parts of the defense. "All of us work really well together, that's the trick -- to work well as a team."
The Panthers will have to stop an experienced Warrensburg group that includes senior midfielder Kerrigan Roth and junior forward Aineen Callahan. Callahan's overtime goal against Corinth was the difference for the Burghers in the first round.
"It's been a work in progress, we've changed a few things here and there," Campbell said. It's not just defense, the [midfielders are] also a big part of that. They really take the job seriously and work hard to keep the ball out."
The winner will face either Greenwich or North Warren in the final on Sunday, Nov. 3. But the Panthers have to get through Warrensburg first.
"It's hard to beat a team three times," Harrison said. "We're confident but humble. We're a better team this year and we have a lot of potential."