Lakeland Eyeing a 10th Straight Section, NYS Title – by Tony Pinciaro
Julia Cummings had an exciting and memorable finish to her 2017 season.
When the buzzer sounded to end the New York State Class B Field Hockey Championship game, Cummings turned from her sweeper position and raced to goalie Cassie Halpin to start the celebration of Lakeland’s ninth consecutive state title.
“Last year was the most exciting because I was playing in the championship game,” said Cummings, in her fourth varsity season and second as the starting sweeper. “Being on the field, running back toward Cassie (Halpin) and having all of your teammates jump on each other. It was crazy.”
Cummings and her teammates are hoping for a repeat as the Hornets strive for their unprecedented 10th straight Class B state championship.
Lakeland returns a core group of 10 seniors, led by Julianna Cappello (forward), an all-section and all-state pick last year, Emily Kness (midifled), also all-state, Kiera Wax (defense) and Cummings (sweeper), both all-league.
The senior nucleus also includes Sarah Bussell (midfield), Cara O’Shea (forward), Gianna Scialdone (forward), Brianna Madison (defense), Sophia Gloade (defense) and goalie Kellie Smith.
Lakeland also returns junior and starter Jenna McCrudden (midfield), an all-league selection last year.
“We all get along really well,” Cummings said. “We’re all so close. We like to push each other as hard as we can and help each other so we can make each other the best players we can be.”
Lakeland is always prepared for the season because of the hard work, dedication and commitment of its players during the offseason. Cummings pointed out that many of the Lakeland players play for the Hudson Valley Field Hockey Club, which is coached by veteran Lakeland mentor Sharon Sarsen.
Lakeland, which went 22-0 last year, will play a challenging schedule, once again. The Hornets non-league schedule includes Scarsdale, Thursday, 9/20, perennial Class A champion, Mamaroneck, Saturday, 9/22, and Suffern, Monday, 9/24. The Hornets played annual championship-game foe, Rye, Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Former Lakeland and University of Michigan standout Shannon Scavelli, a four-time state champion, returns as Sarsen’s assistant coach. Former Lakeland standout and co-captain of the 2003 state-title team, Danielle Fiore, is back for her fourth year as the Junior Varsity coach.
Lakeland opened its 2018 season with a victory over Yorktown behind two goals by Bussell.
Emma Halderman and Kness each had one goal and one assists and McCrudden collected three assists.
PUTNAM VALLEY welcomes a new, but familiar coach in Courtney Hyndman. Hyndman is the Putnam Valley varsity girls’ lacrosse coach and was the field hockey varsity assistant the last three years.
The Tigers went 5-11 last year and lost a first-round sectional game. Hyndman has a veteran core returning, many of whom also play lacrosse for her.
Seniors Danielle Cunningham and Ciara McGinty return on midfield and at forward, respectively. Cunningham was selected all-league in 2017.
Juniors Colleen Cassidy and Cyera Daughtry will join Cunningham in the midfield and classmate Sydney Goldberg and Lauren Seiler will anchor the defense.
A pair of freshmen – Julia Cunningham and Alexandra Jacobs will play forward and/or midfield.
“We have a strong trio in the midfield, all returning, and I will be looking to them to lead our young team on the field,” Hyndman said. “We have about 12 freshman joining our team this year, so we have a lot of young girls coming from modified and going straight to varsity. The main focus for them this year would be to build their skill level up and their field hockey IQ. I will look to our four captains, Danielle Cunningham, McGinty, Goldberg, and Cassidy, along with the rest of the returners, to help teach these girls and lead them both on and off the field.
“I look forward to this year being my first season as head coach. I am impressed with the improvements and progress made these past two weeks, and can’t wait to see how this season pans out.”
Putnam Valley faces Albertus Magnus in a Yorktown Tournament first-round game, Thuresday, 4:30 p.m.
YORKTOWN Coach Bernadette Gannon has her two leading scorers returning this season as the Cornhuskers plan on increasing their win total from 2017.
Yorktown did qualify for the Section 1 Class A Championships, but lost in the first round to eventual titlist, Mamaroneck.
Senior forward Izzy Ciccinelli and junior midfielder Kelsey McDonnell highlight a sizeable group of returnees including goalie Adeline Araneo.
Among the returnees is a core group of juniors, cited Gannon. Gannon pointed out that junior Alyssa Albano (midfield/forward) and sophomore Maiya Munoz (defense) are making the step up to varsity.
“When the girls play together, they do amazing things,” said Gannon, who has also coached Suffern and Clarkstown North during her 25-year career. “The strong group of core returning players will need to mesh with the newcomers in order to succeed this season. They will have to share their knowledge and game sense and that’s when we will be an improving and stronger team.
Yorktown had the misfortune of opening the season against nine-time defending state champion Lakeland and was shut out.
The Cornhuskers will host their annual tournament, beginning Thursday. Albertus Magnus will play Putnam Valley, 4:30 p.m., followed by Sleepy Hollow-Yorktown, 6 p.m. The winners will meet in the championship game, Saturday, 1:15 p.m., preceded by the consolation game at 11:30 a.m.
Somers enters the 2018 season following a strong conclusion to the 2-17 season.
The Tuskers played a difficult schedule in 2017, resulting in the fourth seed for the Section 1 Class B Championships. As a result, Somers won its first two games, including a 3-2 double-overtime victory over fifth-seeded Nanuet in a quarterfinal game. However, Somers lost to eventual champion, Lakeland, in a semifinal.
SOMERS has a new coach in Michelle Arnstrong. The first-year varsity coach has three impact seniors back to lead the team. Grace Farina, an all-section pick in 2017, Rosalie Murphy and Emma Kittridge. Juniors Erin Clark and Haley Dineen are also returning for Armstrong.
Two newcomers to varsity will be senior Linsey Hershfield and junior Jen Campbell. Somers opens the season with its tournament, Wednesday. Somers will host Scarsdale, Pawling and Mahopac. The consolation and championship games will be played Thursday at 4 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., respectively.