Entering into her fourth season at the helm, Shelton High coach Kat Ciambriello has witnessed progress throughout the years and is looking for that to continue as the 2019 campaign gets underway.

The best way to make fast strides, of course, is with speed and the Gaelettes will look to utilize their quickness.

Defense, too, stands to be a strength and with stops, Shelton will look to tap into its speed to capitalize in transition.

“This is definitely the fastest we’ve been, and this also should also be defensively our strongest,” Ciambriello said. “We want more quickness in transition and to be ready to work together on offense.”

Offseason work showed in the preseason.

“They’ve been conditioning throughout the year,” Ciambriello said. “We’re super-excited, a lot of good vibes. A lot of positive stuff and everybody’s on the same page. As a team, we are motivating and reminding each other to work hard, work together and work through competitive challenges.”

The Gaelettes, who posted a 7-9 record to get into the Class L state playoffs, lost four players – including a trio of captains – to graduation.

They have plenty of talent back in the fold.

Senior captains are midfielder Jess Perley, defender Zoe Hunt and goaltender Nickey Frese.

Other key players back in the mix are midfielders Catie Lindberg and Mia Camerino, defender Amanda Schafenberg, and attack players Bri Carritini and Gigi Gambodian.

Last spring, the No. 20 seeded Gaelettes traveled to No. 13 Norwich Free Academy and posted a 23-12 win in the qualifying round to earn a matchup with No. 4 Wilton.

The season ended with a first-round defeat o the Warriors, and the goal this time around is to bypass the play-in game.

That will require a better regular-season record, and Ciambriello believes her team is up to the task.

“We’re trying to make a new name for ourselves,” she said.

Games with Sacred Heart Academy, which the Gaelettes split against in a pair of meetings last year, along with Jonathan Law, Branford and Trumbull are among the most interesting and challenging matchups to circle on the schedule.

The season begins Wednesday, April. 3, when Branford visits Finn Stadium at 7 p.m.

Shot selection and execution may be a difference-maker.

“We need to improve on the shots taken and goals scored. The shots we take need to go in,” Ciambriello said.