Lakeland Hopes to Own Class B; Carmel Looks to Build on 2020
By Tony Pinciaro
Even though the pandemic delayed the 2020 fall high school sports and canceled the state championship in each fall sport, one thing remained constant — Lakeland field hockey supremacy.
Lakeland went 13-1 for 2021 New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame inductee Sharon Sarsen was the Westchester/Putnam Small School Champion. The Hornets also were league champions.
This was no surprise considering Lakeland’s dominance of Section 1 and the New York State Field Hockey Championships since 2009. Beginning in 2009, Lakeland won an unprecedented nine consecutive state (Class B) titles. Garden City upset Lakeland, 1-0, in the 2018 state Class B final, but the Hornets returned to beat Garden City in the 2019 state-title game.
Sarsen is in her 40th year as Lakeland coach and owns a state-record of 659 wins.
Lakeland, which opened its season with wins over Yorktown (7-0) and Somers (4-1) will be led by the senior nucleus of Mia Smith (midfield), Jaden Ray (defense) and Meaghan Casey (defense). The Hornets also return junior Celeste Pagliaroli (goalie).
The four returnees received all-league honors. Ray and Pagliaroli were all-section honorable mention selections while Smith was an all-section and all-state recipient.
Sarsen came out of preseason impressed by her team’s work ethic and commitment to improvement. Lakeland will have some young players on varsity, which will lead to a learning curve as the Hornets will go into the Section 1 Class B championships as the favorite.
In 2003, Sarsen promoted four freshmen to varsity — Melissa Gonzalez, Kara Connolly, Amy Voelkel and Rebecca DiSisto. Under the leadership and guidance of senior co-captains Andi Coiro and Danielle Fiore, the freshmen four emerged as important players in helping Lakeland win the state Class A title.
“We are excited to play Lakeland field hockey again,” Sarsen said. “I am hoping we are fortunate to have a full season that is close to regular.”
Smith had a hat trick and two assists in Lakeland’s season-opening win over Yorktown. Emily Yazzetti added two goals, Ray added a goal and an assist and Alyssa Petrilli had a goal.
Yorktown goalie Maeve Ryan finished with 24 saves.
Smith followed up her hat trick in Lakeland’s 4-1 win over Somers.
Lauren McCartin scored for Somers, assisted by Julianna Sirchia, and Kamryn Seeger made 14 saves.
Somers opened its season with a 4-0 victory over Panas as Sirchia had a hat trick.
Brianna Coolican had a goal. Teagan Ryan collected two assists and McCartin had an assist. Seeger did not make a save.
Panas goalie Kate Astrab registered 20 saves.
Mahopac began 2021 with a 6-0 victory over Putnam Valley as Grace Witt had a goal and two assists.
Kristina Rush, Riley Massett, Katrina Levitz, Emma Rooney and Toni DiCioccio also scored for Mahopac and Hannah Harney also collected two assists.
Mahopac goalie Maddie Orsini made one save and Putnam Valley keeper Kylie Recuppio had nine saves.
Here is a team-by-team look for those Examiner-area programs that cooperated.
Coach: Aislinn Breslin (ninth year)
2020 record: 5-3-1 (runner-up in the Westchester/Putnam Large School Division, losing 2-0 to Horace Greeley in the final.)
Top returning players: Laila Rosenquest, Jr., F (All-Elite and All-Section); Kasey Lewia, Sr., D (All League, All Elite Honorable Mention); Nikki McGough, Sr., F (All League); Claire Bumgarner, Sr., M, Gracie Sonnergren, Sr., F; McKenzie Hayes, Jr., G; Ashley McGough, So., F/ M
Key Newcomers: Karoline Costa, Sr., D; Brynn Connolly, Jr., D; Rachael Dandreano, Jr., D; Olivia Trupia, Jr., D; Kelsey Blair, So., D/M; Aubrey Dall, So., F/M
Coach’s comments: The girls have been working incredibly hard to get prepared for the season. Several of them dedicated time in the offseason to make sure they can do everything they need to to make this a successful year. Our biggest strength is our speed. We have several girls who are great at using their speed to their advantage. After a very successful season last year, my team is looking to repeat that success. We did lose several key players last year to graduation, but the new girls on the team are more than ready to fill those roles. The girls are very relieved to not have to wear masks while playing anymore. They are also thrilled to be able to be more connected and have all of their friends back in school. We are far from normal but the girls are happy we are getting closer.
HEN HUD SAILORS
Coach: Melissa Locatelli (fifth year)
2020 record: 6-6-1 (lost to Lakeland in the league semifinals)
Top returning players: Taeghan Dapson (All-Section HM); Rowan Dapson; Sydney Muranaka; Gianna (Gigi) Deak; Logan Gougelmann; Paige Johannsen; Taylor DeResh; Ally McManus; Emily Hunt
Key newcomers: Caitlin Pignataro; Ella Sylvester; Ashley Azzaro, Eva Facciolo, Jillian Hentze, Erin Johns, Sarah McAllister, Lauren Zern
Coach’s comments: Taeghan, Rowan, Sydney and Gigi know each other very well on the field and are a tough group to contend with. All four girls pour their heart and soul out on the field and are looking to win league champs for their final run this year. We have changed leagues and our eye is on the prize. Our goalie, Emily Hunt, is very eager to show everyone what she’s capable of. We have a mix of seasoned players and brand-new girls. All have drive and eagerness to win. They are eyeing that league win to bring home the first field hockey banner to hang in our gym. We can’t wait to get back to playing and returning to somewhat normal. We made it through last season without issue and hope to do the same this year.
HORACE GREELEY QUAKERS
Coach: Sukhwinder Sandhu (13th year)
2020 record: 12-1 (Northern Westchester/Putnam Large School Champion and League Champion).
Top returning players: All of our varsity team graduated last year.
Key newcomers: They are all key newcomers.
Coach’s comments: We lost a lot of varsity players last year. We hope to work on our new, young varsity players and have a good season. I’m glad we are returning to normal this year. Hopefully, it stays normal.
Notes: In 2019, Sandhu guided the Quakers to the Section 1 Class A title and they went on to play for the state title.
Coach: Dona DiMaggio
Top returning player and key newcomers: Giuliana Barthold, Jr., D; Marie Camastro, Sr., M; Gaby Cazzari, Sr., D; Toni DiCioccio, Jr., F; Shay Fennessy, Jr., D; Megan Gallagher, Sr., M/D; Hannah Harney, Jr., D/M; Ava Jennings, Sr., F/M; Katrina Levitz, Jr., F; Riley Massett, Jr., F; Nat Ocello, Sr. D; Maya O’Keefe, Jr., M/D; Madison Orsini, Jr., G; Avery Przymylski, Sr., D/M; Nola Roberts, Jr., D/M; Emma Rooney, Jr.; Kristina Rush, Jr., F; Grace Witt, Jr., M/D, All-Section Sr. M Gabby Gonzalez
Notes: This is the 20th anniversary for Coach DiMaggio and her Mahopac 2001 New York State Class A championship team which had a strong senior class, highlighted by state-final-four MVP Colleen McClay.
Coach: Leah DiSisto (first year)
2020 Record: 4-7-1
Top returning players: Kate Astrab, So., G; Ali Moyer, Jr., D; Makenzie Schmidt, Jr., M
Coach’s comments: We are looking forward to a season of improvement. We graduated a large group of seniors last year and have many holes to fill. The girls bring great energy and are working together to better themselves every practice and game. We are happy to be on the field and playing together in a normal season setting. We are looking forward to growing this program post-COVID and hopefully rebuilding a JV team at Walter Panas.
Notes: Leah DiSisto was the Panas varsity assistant last year. She will be assisted this year by former Lakeland teammate Cassie (O’Mara) Lian. DiSisto and Lian were members of Lakeland’s 2006 New York State Class A championship team. Lian was a captain on Lakeland’s 2007 state-finalist team.
Coach: Kristen Coffey (14th year)
2020 record: 4-7
Top returning players: Caitlin Rubsamen, Sr., M (All-Section HM); Ryan Sullivan, Sr., F; Isabelle Baxter, Sr., F; Maeve McCourtney, Sr., F
Key newcomers: Natalie O’Malley, Jr., F
Coach’s comments: These players work very hard and love coming together each day. They have a strong bond with one another. It is a pleasure coaching them and I look forward to watching them progress and succeed. It is amazing to get to see each player’s smiling face! Last season was difficult and uncertain and this year feels like things are slowly returning back to normal!
Notes: Coffey graduated from and played for Pleasantville legendary coach Rosemary Sotherden. Pleasantville was a 2002 State Class C finalist and won the 2008 Section 1 Class C title.
PUTNAM VALLEY TIGERS
Coach: Tracy Parchen (eighth season)
Top returnees: Alexandra Jacobs, Sr.; Shayla Lussier, Sr.; Julia Cunningham, Sr.; Sara Lussier, Sr.; Ava Harman, So.
Coach’s comments: Sara is back this season. She was injured on the first day of the season last year and missed her entire junior season. So I am hoping for some good things from her on the forward line this season. I think defensively we are pretty strong. We struggled last year with goal-scoring, but hoping for better things this season.”
Notes: Parchen coached Putnam Valley to the 2005 Section 1 and New York State Class B titles. During Putnam Valley’s ‘05 sectional and state championship run, the Tigers and goalie Kim Kastuk did not allow a goal. Putnam Valley, led by center midfielder Ashley Morgan, won the 2008 Section 1 Class B title beating rivals Rye and Lakeland in the semifinals and final, respectively.
Coach: Kim Briscoe (first year)
Top returning players: Ava Denatle, F/M
Coach’s comments: We have good field chemistry and we also do a good job at being supportive to each other on and off the field. We are a younger team after graduating a lot of our players. It will be interesting to see which players step up throughout the season. I am excited to see my team get better with every practice and game. We are taking it one day at a time and seeing the progress we need to see to have a great season. I am excited to see fall sports coming back for a full season this year. It’s wonderful that we are able to play the sports we love to play while doing so safely.
Notes: Briscoe was Valhalla’s Junior Varsity coach the past two seasons. … DeNatle was a player-of-the-week recipient last year.
WHITE PLAINS TIGERS
Coach: Amanda Grant (fifth year)
2020 record: 5-3 (lost to Mamaroneck in the Westchester/Putnam Large School County Tournament.)
Top returning players: Sophia Emmert Jr., (All-Section HM last year); Joely O’Rourke, D; Ryleigh Falvey, D
Coach’s comments: Last year was big for us because we beat Scarsdale, the first time we played them. It was the first time we have ever beaten Scarsdale. Our strength is we really work together as a team. and utilize all the players on the field.
Coach: Courtney Hyndman (second year)
2020 record: 2-6-2
Top returning players: Maya Servedio, Sr., M; Abbie Ellison, Sr., F; Kaitlin Regan, Jr., M (All League Honorable Mention); Gianna Altimari, Jr., M; Adrianna Albano, Jr., M; Sophia Reilly, Jr., D
Key newcomers: Katie Taormina, So., M; Maeve Ryan, Jr., G; Georgia Christensen, Jr., M
Coach’s comments: These girls trust each other completely. They have really gelled together and learned each other’s strengths and have shown that they can play to them. Losing seven seniors was extremely tough, but we definitely have the right girls taking that leadership role and ensuring we have team unity. In addition to the team chemistry, we have seen an increase in the athleticism of the girls. They have worked hard in the offseason and during preseason so we are excited to see how they compare to other teams. Both myself and Coach Esteves are really looking forward to this season. The girls are working extremely hard and have been showing a ton of improvement thus far that we know gameplay will only increase their ability. We have a different league and are playing some different teams than we have in the past, but we are hopeful for a successful season.
Notes: Hyndman replaced former Yorktown coach Bernadette Gannon, who retired after the 2019 season. Assistant coach Jessica Esteves was a stand-out defender during her Pleasantville career.