LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Shaker boys soccer team put together one of the more thrilling playoff runs in the section last year, winning three straight one-goal games, en route to the program’s first section title since 2015.

Head coach Dan Fountain and the Blue Bison have re-tooled in 2023 in hopes of defending their crown in the newly-established Class AAA. They passed their first Suburban Council test Thursday, blanking Ballston Spa 1-0 in their home opener.

Sophomore defender Lucas Rivera drove home the lone goal of the game in the 20th minute. He netted a back-door header off a corner kick from fellow sophomore defender Nathanael Chung.

“I ran in the space; it was a nice cross by Nate, so I couldn’t have done it without him,” said Rivera. “It’s a team game. We put in the grit today; put in the work. And yeah, it felt good. We really gotta step it up. We did lose a lot of good seniors, but…I think we’ll be great this season. We just gotta put in the work.”

Senior goalkeeper Jack Keegan led a strong defensive showing that resulted in the Blue Bison’s first shutout of the season – something that’s become a norm for this program. They posted 11 shutouts a year ago.

Keegan is one of a number of players on the roster expected to take on a heightened role this season.

“I believe we lost nine of the 11 players who started that section final for us,” said Fountain. “So, this year a whole not of new kids get a chance to step in and be role players, and step on the field and play. That’s the fun of high school sports, right? Every year is basically a new look, new team. We’re focusing on guys (who are) getting their first minutes; new seniors, and they’re lookin’ for new leadership. And so far they’ve been great about it; they’ve been doing everything right.”

Shaker improves to 2-0 on the young season, and remains home for its’ next contest Tuesday against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. Ballston Spa drops to 0-1, and continues a four-game road trip to start the season with Mechanicville Friday night.